The Idaho Freedom Foundation today called on TV stations to pull a misleading, newly released political commercial. In the advertisement, Obamacare Medicaid expansion proponents falsely claim that Proposition 2 will bring Idaho taxpayer money back to Idaho.

The truth: That is not how Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is funded.

“The Medicaid expansion supporters can make a lot of claims about why they believe Obamacare Medicaid expansion is the right policy for the state. But the repatriation of Idaho tax money from other states isn’t one of them. In fact, it is an outright lie,” said Wayne Hoffman, president of the Idaho Freedom Foundation.  

The Idahoans for Healthcare ad falsely claims, “Every year $400 million of our tax dollars go to Washington, D.C and every year Washington sends those dollars to other states, your tax dollars to pay for their healthcare.” The ad goes on to claim that Proposition 2, “would bring our tax dollars back to Idaho.”

It is true that hard-working Idahoans and families in every state send hundreds of millions of dollars to the federal government. However, states that have expanded Medicaid don’t get more money because Idaho and 17 other states declined to do so. Nor do states get less money as additional states expand Obamacare.

Three years ago, the Congressional Research Service was asked this question: “If a state chooses not to expand Medicaid to childless adults as specified under the Affordable Care Act/’Obamacare,’ are the federal funds that would have otherwise been spent on that state’s Medicaid expansion funds somehow being sent to other states?”

CRS answered, “If a state doesn’t implement the ACA Medicaid expansion, the federal funds that would have been used for that state’s expansion are not being sent to another state. There is not a set amount of federal funding for Medicaid. Each state gets the federal funding necessary for their Medicaid program.”

The CRS memo continued, “If a state has implemented the ACA Medicaid expansion, then the states receive federal Medicaid funding for their approved expenditures under the ACA Medicaid expansion. If a state hasn’t implemented the ACA Medicaid expansion, the state would not receive any federal Medicaid funding for the expansion. However, this doesn’t mean any additional federal Medicaid funding would be allocated to states that have implemented the expansion.”

Idahoans for Healthcare is correct on this point: The state of Idaho would receive more federal money if Medicaid is expanded. But that money won’t be pried out of the state treasuries of Medicaid expansion states like California, Oregon, and Washington.

Rather, the “free” federal money will be added to the national debt; there is no money sitting in a federal treasury account that is earmarked for Idaho. Thus, if voters elect to expand Obama’s Medicaid, our children and grandchildren will bear the burden of a bigger national debt.

The Idahoans for Healthcare commercial is not just misleading, it is false. Telling Idaho voters that their tax dollars support Medicaid expansion in California and elsewhere is false. The blatantly false ad should be pulled.

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