Too often we are left with two options in a policy discussion: Do A or don’t do A. The proponents of Medicaid expansion in Idaho have insisted the alternative to Medicaid expansion is to do nothing and to let those in the “gap” languish.
The first thing to keep in mind is, when it comes to poverty, conservatives generally believe policies either mitigate it or exacerbate it; it’s hard for the government to solve problems intertwined with personal behavior. Further, when we attempt to mitigate some of poverty’s effects, we can create unintended consequences. For example, if we want to assist single mothers we should be careful we don’t push policies that encourage fatherless families.
At the Idaho Freedom Foundation, we believe the expansion of Medicaid to include able-bodied adults is fraught with many of the same pitfalls that have bedeviled government programs for decades: a reliance on borrowed federal money, a “cliff” that puts those who enter the program at risk of losing benefits if they work full time, an incentive for those who work full time to drop their hours and get benefits, and the same bureaucratic system necessitated by the processing of human beings through the labyrinth of state and federal rules by the department of Health and Welfare.
We believe there’s a better way rooted in the notion that Idahoans can apply the same principles of charity to medical care as applied to other endeavors.