Greenberg: “Private Option” In Trouble

Advance Arkansas Institute’s Dan Greenberg has a great guest op-ed at Arkansas Business today. You’ll want to check it out. Here’s a taste:

Whether to expand Medicaid was, and continues to be, the most divisive and hotly debated question of Arkansas’ 2013 legislative session. Regrettably, readers of Gwen Moritz’s recent column (“The Dangers of Demonization,” July 1) will only learn that she finds this question unworthy of serious discussion. Instead, Moritz explains that those who opposed Medicaid expansion did so “simply to make a point,” but that those who favored it “put people above ideology.” Those who agreed with Gov. Beebe that Medicaid expansion was a “no-brainer” will find Moritz’s perspective convincing; others will find it less so. I would respectfully suggest to Moritz that the following questions, which an uncritical advocacy of Medicaid expansion invites, pose difficulties for her view.

Moritz’s column describes Medicaid expansion as “turning down hundreds of millions of taxpayer dollars every year.” The reality is a bit more complex, because it is more accurate to weigh any proposal’s costs and benefits against one another. In five years or so, thanks to Medicaid expansion, Arkansas state taxpayers will annually, on net, have to provide for several hundred millions of dollars in new spending obligations in an already strained state budget. Should we plan to do this through cuts to existing programs, through tax increases or a combination of both? Or should we hope that economic growth will solve this problem for us?

You can read Greenberg’s full piece here, and you should.

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