BOISE, ID—Progressive activists are using faulty budget numbers to promote Obamacare expansion, the Idaho Freedom Foundation and Heartland Institute charged in a new report released Wednesday.
“Obamacare expansion would cost the state loads of money, and so far left-wing activists haven’t told the whole fiscal story,” warned Idaho Freedom Foundation Vice President Fred Birnbaum.
For months, pro-Obamacare activists have relied on a 2018 report by actuarial firm Milliman to say that the Obamacare expansion of government-run healthcare would save Idaho money.
However, Milliman has a poor track record of forecasting Obamacare expansion’s effects in other states. In fact, the firm’s sorry record prompted the state of Iowa to end its contract with Milliman due to a wildly incorrect Obamacare expansion estimate. A February 2018 “Des Moines Register” article noted that Milliman undershot Iowa’s expansion costs by as much as 40 percent, which led to “catastrophic” experiences for plan administrators.
“Milliman’s repeated miscalculations have cost taxpayers in other states dearly, and we should be wary of the firm’s data, lest we import the same difficulties to the Gem State,” Birnbaum added.
In 2016, Milliman predicted Obamacare expansion would cost Idaho $7.7 billion over a decade. Earlier this year, the firm revised that number to $4.8 billion over a 10-year span. The reason for the change: Milliman’s new estimates relied on lowering the projected enrollment figures and patient costs. Available data doesn’t support the firm’s claim, however, as most expansion states have been plagued by higher-than-expected enrollment and cost overruns.
A cost explosion like the one experienced by Iowa would hinder Idaho’s ability to invest in critical programs.
“Obamacare’s supporters may call Medicaid expansion ‘free money,’” concluded study co-author Charlie Katebi. “But the reality is every dollar states spend on able-bodied adults is one less dollar to pave roads, provide public safety, and ensure students receive a quality education.”