TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

Editorials

April 5, 2013

Obamacare comes to Kentucky: When federal money runs out, what then?

CORBIN — There’s not much protection – and even less affordability – for Kentuckians in President Obama’s misnamed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, otherwise known as “Obamacare.”

Temporarily, Kentucky may be able to afford it – only because the federal government is waving dollars in front of cash-hungry politicians. But in the long run, Obamacare will cause healthcare premiums to rise by between 65 percent and 106 percent, according to a recent congressional report.

Where is the protection and affordability in that?

While the U.S. Supreme Court last summer ruled that the federal government cannot force individual states to abide by the law’s key state-based provisions – government-run health exchanges and expanding Medicaid coverage – some governors, including Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, seem eager to make their constituencies attached to the 20,000-page government health-care teat known as Obamacare as soon and as firmly as possible.

Even governors who oppose the policy on constitutional grounds (this does not describe Beshear) are surrendering as the federal government waves tens of millions of dollars in front of their broke, debt-ridden states.

All Washington had to do was dangle $183 million in front of Gov. Beshear and he crumbled, quickly issuing an executive order to establish a state-run health exchange that will force young and healthy Kentuckians to essentially subsidize everyone else in the system.

This will increase the dependency upon government among the thousands of Kentuckians and millions of Americans forced to participate in the plan, while insurers who only want to remain in business will be forced to provide certain government-mandated services and be greatly limited on how much they can charge for less-than-healthy individuals who require more care.

That means that young healthy Kentuckians and business owners – the very people Beshear and his fellow politicos in Frankfort say we need more of in Kentucky – will end up paying the freight.

An obvious question for the governor: how will such a policy encourage true growth and economic development in our state? Beyond that, there’s another important question: How can Kentucky afford Obamacare’s big-government state mandates after Obamacare money is gone?

No worries, says the governor. Taxes from insurance companies and rearranging tobacco settlement dollars will foot the bill.

Really?

And considering that businesses are forced to pass on increased costs to their customers, who will pay those taxes? It will be those very taxpayers already will squeezed by this disastrous government policy through higher premiums, fewer choices and diminished quality of service.

But what happens as tobacco’s economic productivity decreases in our state? And how is tobacco revenue a reliable revenue stream to pay Kentuckians’ future health care bills?

While we’re asking yet-unanswered questions about Obamacare – especially as it relates to the policy’s impact on states – how can Kentucky afford to add more than 300,000 individuals to its Medicaid rolls next year?

A recent Heritage Foundation study shows that such an expansion would cost Kentucky at least $846 million during the next decade.

The carrot dangling in front of Beshear ought not to fool inquiring Kentucky minds. Though the feds promise to pay for the radical expansion of Medicaid for the next three years, a substantial portion of the bill will have to be picked up by Kentucky taxpayers beginning in 2017.

The governor has yet to sign the Medicaid expansion deal. He should delay – at least until he can explain how the commonwealth will fund such a huge increase in the future for an already bloated program.

Federal dollars are being used to seduce states to join the big-government health care chorus. But when the fed money starts to dwindle – which it will for Kentucky’s Medicaid program in just three short years – what is Beshear’s plan?

When the money runs out but the spending addiction remains: What then?

Jim Waters is vice president of policy and communications for the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com. Read previously published columns at www.bipps.org.

1
Text Only
Editorials
  • LIKE IT OR NOT: MLB's All Star effort was a bust

    With the 85th edition of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game in the books, I have to say I feel like the whole thing was a complete bust.

    July 18, 2014

  • THE WAY IT IS: Some local teams can make a run

    Well folks, our Little League All-Star action is beginning to wind down, and I’ve been fortunate enough to see two of the Tri-County’s resp

    July 17, 2014

  • LIKE IT OR NOT: It's been a very busy summer

    While a lot of people would expect the local sports scene to slow down in the Tri-County in the summer time, that’s not usually the case for us here at the Times-Tribune.

    July 16, 2014

  • John Ross.jpg May we all cherish those few WWII vets who still live

    I watch this old BBC program pretty often called “Are You Being Served?” It’s mostly out of syndication — what shows remain can be seen most often through PBS.

    July 10, 2014 1 Photo

  • 0502 Bobbie Poynter So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, adieu

    I never have been very good at saying goodbye — family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, community — for years you’ve had my back and in turn, I believe I’ve had yours.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie Ellis.jpg ‘Uh hummm!’ It’s been an interesting week

    One column can’t cover everything from a busy week of political events, but here are some quick takeaways from last week.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Let’s multiply our numbers like fleas do

    Last Saturday, my wife, Carmen, and I spent the day at the Kings Island theme park near Cincinnati, Ohio.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Not an earthly trace

    Just married (1897) and in his late 20’s, my grandfather was determined to make a living on a hillside farm covered in wilderness; much as his father had done before him in 1846  when he arrived from Germany.

    July 7, 2014 1 Photo

  • Brad Hall.jpg Col. Mustard with the candlestick in Heaven

    One of my favorite movies is the murder mystery comedy “Clue,” which is based on the popular board game of the same name.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • John Burkhart.jpg Now or Never

    A story is told of an old widower who decided it was time to find a new wife. He chose to look for this new bride through the obituaries column; identifying new widows.

    June 30, 2014 1 Photo

Front page
Featured Ads
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Ariz. Inmate Dies 2 Hours After Execution Began Crash Kills Teen Pilot Seeking World Record LeBron James Sends Apology Treat to Neighbors Raw: Funeral for Man Who Died in NYPD Custody Migrants Back in Honduras After US Deports Israeli American Reservist Torn Over Return Raw: ISS Cargo Ship Launches in Kazakhstan Six Indicted in StubHub Hacking Scheme Former NTSB Official: FAA Ban 'prudent' EPA Gets Hip With Kardashian Tweet Bodies of MH17 Victims Arrive in the Netherlands Biden Decries Voting Restrictions in NAACP Talk Broncos Owner Steps Down Due to Alzheimer's US, UN Push Shuttle Diplomacy in Mideast Trump: DC Hotel Will Be Among World's Best Plane Crashes in Taiwan, Dozens Feared Dead Republicans Hold a Hearing on IRS Lost Emails Raw: Mourners Gather As MH17 Bodies Transported Robot Parking Valet Creates Stress-free Travel Raw: Fight Breaks Out in Ukraine Parliament
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide