by Greta Pisarczyk & Greg George
Adoption of optional components of Obamacare, Medicaid expansion and the implementation of a partnership exchange will signify the realization of “Snydercare” in Michigan, an egregious healthcare bureaucracy bought and paid for with federal blood money.
Governor Snyder’s de facto endorsement of Obamacare will expedite and enable implementation.
Ironically, while lawmakers at the federal level are working to defund Obamacare, state legislators and Michigan’s governor are moving to enact the ACA under the guise of sensible governance and local control. Installation of healthcare exchanges and Medicaid expansion are the key features of Obamacare. Snyder’s eagerness to implement a partnership exchange in Michigan is tacit support for the national healthcare takeover.
Last summer, Governor Snyder vehemently pushed for a state-based exchange. The original Senate Bill 693 was voted down in the House Health Policy Committee because Democrat representatives abstained. Now Snyder, still crushing on the idea of a “state-based” system, sees federal money in a partnership exchange. But federal-run, state-based and partnership exchanges are equivalent under HHS rules, and offer zero improvements to quality of care.
In 2011 Snyder declined to add his name to the Republican Governors Association letter proposing greater state flexibility in determining Medicaid eligibility and cost sharing. Paul Egan of the Detroit News Lansing Bureau reported on the Governor’s position:
“Given … all the activities we have going on, I’m focused on Michigan,” said Snyder. “My role is not to be a large advocate on a national scale. I was hired to be governor of Michigan.”
It seems that the Governor was too busy to bother with high-impact, wide-range plans to improve healthcare in 2011, but now has ample time to advocate for a Democratic healthcare policy in Michigan. And apparently, Synder isn’t willing to propose an alternative; compliance with Obamacare seems to be his only solution to the need for more and better care.
President Obama designed the ACA to be implemented through the creation of a state exchange in conjunction with Medicaid expansion. Governors and state lawmakers intwenty-six states have seized the opportunity to reject Obamacare by refusing optional measures that would expedite implementation of the law. Snyder, on the other hand, touts Medicaid expansion and exchange installation (funded in what amounts to generational theft) as a panacea.
Medicaid expansion, for example, will throw 17 million of the most vulnerable patients into a broken system that compromises care. According to the CBO and the U.S. Census Bureau, by 2020, 1 in 4 Americans will be hopelessly ensnared in the Medicaid muskeg. Medicaid patients are seven times more likely to be rejected for care by a family physician than those who are privately insured, and two to three times more likely to die of cancer.
Medicaid is the ‘exploding Ford Pinto’ of health insurance. Simply expanding the customer service complaint department will not save lives. Governor Snyder must realize that if he wants to truly improve care, he must seek reform that provides Michigan “real” flexibility and control, and reduces cost, fraud and waste.
Product improvement is driven by increased competition. Michiganders should be able to purchase insurance across state lines to expand access to private insurance. Federal Medicaid funds should be converted into block grants in order to reign in costs. Block grants allocated to each state would promote increased experimentation in healthcare markets, and yield viable solutions unique to individual states’ needs. If competition wasn’t the best means to improve products and services, we’d all be driving a Pinto and surfing MySpace on a Gateway.
“Snydercare” should and could be low-cost, high-quality, patient-focused alternative, not a mechanism to implement Obamacare.
Follow Greta on twitter @pisarczy. Follow Greg on twitter at @gregmgeorge.