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Medicaid expansion is immoral, Gov. Kasich

Medicaid expansion is immoral, Gov. Kasich

Fred Birnbaum
January 26, 2015
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January 26, 2015

Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio recently came to Boise to promote a balanced budget amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Noting that the federal government is $18 trillion in debt, Kasich properly warns this financial liability is a millstone around the necks of our children.

“If this continues, we’re going to see our children have to do things that are not right – have to pay bills for the way we’re living today," the governor said at a press conference.

At the end of his remarks, our news unit, IdahoReporter.com, asked Kasich about the contradiction in his support for Medicaid expansion in Ohio while at the same time promoting a federal balanced budget amendment. Kasich brushed off taking federal money in general by noting that residents of the states send the money to Washington and therefore should get some of it back. While noting federal entitlements should be reformed, he defended championing Medicaid expansion in Ohio with a long stem-winding answer filled with biblical analogies and a reference to Matthew 25.

Essentially, he claimed Medicaid expansion is a moral imperative, a compassionate act rooted in Christian principles.

So can supporters of Medicaid expansion rightly claim Medicaid expansion is morally acceptable and then layer on the fact that we send the federal government money so they can fund programs like Medicaid? Not quite, in fact the opposite is true. The federal government runs a deficit of around $500 billion per year. So any incremental spending simply adds to the national debt. In other words, Medicaid expansion operates on the same borrowed money that Kasich says he is so troubled about. Is it moral to borrow money to fund an expansion of Medicaid that will primarily serve childless, able-bodied, adults? Do we saddle our children and their children with debt to pay for more dependency today? Is it moral to add millions more people to a government health care program that is already broken?

So opposition to Medicaid expansion does have a moral dimension: expansion is funded with borrowed money, saddles future generations of Americans with even more national debt and serves to increase the number of able-bodied adults dependent on the federal government.

How can Medicaid expansion be viewed as anything other than immoral?

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