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Medicaid expansion would be a ‘nightmare’ for Arizona

Posted: March 9, 2013 at 4:12 pm   /   by

By Rep. Adam Kwasman (R-LD11)

The proposed Obamacare Medicaid expansion is bad for taxpayers, bad for freedom and ultimately bad for Arizona’s health.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that forcing the expansion of Medicaid is unconstitutional. In response, President Barack Obama has dangled the shiny object of federal funding in front of us. We shouldn’t be fooled into taking a bad deal.

This program may sound good in theory, but it becomes a nightmare once fully implemented. Arizonans will be asked to pay $325 million in new taxes immediately. After an initial influx of federal dollars, Arizonans will be forced to pay for more and more of the expanded Medicaid rolls. Just as we have in the past, we will be placed at the mercy of federal regulators who have thus far failed us at virtually every turn.

Greatly expanding Medicaid in Arizona is a risky move that could put our economic future in jeopardy. A recent Wall Street Journal editorial about the situation noted, “When the money inevitably runs out, states will retain permanently larger obligations and lose budget autonomy.”

We all agree government must provide a safety net to our fellow residents who have fallen on hard times, but trapping people into an inferior healthcare system that will only increase reliance on big government is not the path to prosperity, nor is it truly helping those in need.

A much better alternative to the ever-encroaching leviathan of ObamaCare would be to expand the economy by enabling an environment best suited to economic growth. We must make it easier for businesses and individuals to provide for their own medical coverage in a competitive and innovative marketplace free of onerous government restrictions.

Free-market competition, innovation, and the empowering principle of ownership are the only realistic ways to lower the cost of care and the cost of coverage, while increasing the health of those who need it the most.

Allowing the Trojan Horse of ObamaCare into Arizona will only burden our state with unsustainable obligations while not equitably meeting the health care needs of our residents. Expanded Medicaid is not a workable or an affordable long-term solution. We simply become addicted to the fleeting drug of unreliable federal matching funds – funds that can and will probably disappear in future years.

A strong and vibrant economy is the only long-term solution to the issue of health care coverage. A well-paying job and the ability to own one’s health care coverage in a personal account will provide more resources and options for medical care than another underfunded government scheme.

The question for Arizona is this: Do we want to select a brighter future in which we are still free to choose our own doctor and treatment options, or will we be tricked into the false-hope of another empty government promise to “make things better?” The free-market, where people are able to trade goods and services without burdensome restrictions from government, is the best way to provide for the prosperity and health of our state for generations to come.

The noose of big government is once again tightening around the neck of personal freedom. We need to cut the noose of government dependency and develop programs that will encourage opportunity, success and independence. Rejecting the proposed expansion of Medicaid will strike a chord with all those who value individual freedom and personal responsibility, while placing us on a long-term path toward real solutions for those Arizonans who need a sustainable safety net, not just another broken promise.

– Adam Kwasman represents Legislative District 11 in the Arizona House of Representatives.

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Medicaid expansion would be a ‘nightmare’ for Arizona