The Richmond Register

Viewpoints

April 7, 2013

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

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 president of the Bluegrass Institute, Kentucky’s free-market think tank. Reach him at jwaters@freedomkentucky.com. Read previously published columns at www.freedomkentucky.org/bluegrassbeacon.

1
Text Only
Viewpoints
  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Compromise is not that simple

    It’s tempting for a casual onlooker to wonder why the Democratic House and Republican Senate can’t make what on the surface looks like the obvious compromise on pension reform.
    The Senate passed a measure based on recommendations of a task force to move new employees into a hybrid, cash-balance plan but maintain existing defined benefits for current employees and retirees.

    March 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Frankfort plays ping-pong with public pension transparency

    Legislation that would make the Kentucky Retirement Systems transparent for those paying its bills has danced into the spotlight during the 2014 session of the Kentucky General Assembly.
    Passage of transparency bills filed by Sen. Chris McDaniel, R-Latonia, and Rep. Robert Benvenuti, R-Lexington, would make the “names, status, projected or actual benefit payments” subject to our commonwealth’s superlative Open Records Act.

    March 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jack Strauss-BW.jpg The case of the ghostly neighbor

    Wilbur lived in a world of fears. Everything frightened him. The full extent of his courage was to admit that he had none.
    Noises in the middle of the night, his own shadow creeping up on him and, most of all, black cats scared the wits out of him.
    So, picture his chagrin, one day, when he came home from vacation only to discover that a mausoleum had been erected on property adjacent to his home.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • Provisional concealed-carry law passes Senate unanimously

    Things are staying busy in Frankfort. Many bills are making their way onto the Senate floor from various committees. This past week several important pieces of legislation were debated and passed.
    I am particularly proud of the success we had in advocating for Kentuckians’ Second Amendment rights.
    I introduced Senate Bill 106 to allow anyone who has been granted an emergency protective or domestic violence order to receive a provisional CCDW permit from the Kentucky State Police in one business day. In some of these cases, victims need this type of protection as quickly as possible.

    March 8, 2014

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg 50 years makes a world of difference

    I wasn’t in Frankfort on March 5, 1964, when Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Ralph Abernathy, and Jackie Robinson led 10,000 on a march to the state Capitol in support of a public accommodations law.
    But a few months later, I stood in front of the “Music Hall,” site of the Glasgow Junior High School located on a street named Liberty, and watched black kids “walk up the hill” of College Street on the first day of integrated schools in Glasgow.

    March 8, 2014 1 Photo

  • 02.23 Mike Duncan mug.jpg Coal has kept Kentuckians warm this winter

    This winter, temperatures across the country dipped to historic lows. Here in our home state of Kentucky, the near-arctic climate caused increased power demand which resulted in an incredible strain on the electric grid and rising energy costs.

    March 6, 2014 1 Photo

  • Jim Waters.JPG Protecting citizens’ data is a no-brainer

    Target Corp. is learning the hard way: The price is steep for retailers who don’t protect customers’ sensitive financial information.
    Target’s profits fell a whopping 50 percent during its fourth quarter of 2013 as the result of a massive security breach involving as many as 110 million of its customers’ credit- and debit-card accounts, which began the day before Thanksgiving and extended throughout much of the holiday shopping season.

    March 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Making plans for spring planting

    My brother Keith (Keeter) probably planted peas on one of those warm days last week, and I would not be at all surprised to find out that brother Steve did likewise to try to be the first two fellows in Letcher County to actually be digging the soil in their 2014 gardens.
    Keeter’s father-in-law, the late Dock Mitchell, used to get my brother to drive him a 50-mile round trip to get pea seeds and potting soil for early February planting. Dock raised mammoth melting sugar snow peas and sugar snaps around every fence on the place. 

    February 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ronnie-Ellis.jpg Cynicism, optimism both on display in Frankfort

    Those who spend little time in Kentucky’s Capitol and who read columns by cynics who cover it should be forgiven their disillusionment about how the people’s business is conducted.

    February 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Ike Adams Even Scrooge would enjoy library mystery

    Saturday afternoons and evenings are usually down time for Loretta and me.
    We simply don’t get out much after we’ve used up the movie gift certificates the kids gave us for Christmas. That means we mostly go to the movies to avoid guilt trips because our kids do work hard for their money.

    February 20, 2014 1 Photo

AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

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

Should the Richmond City Commission stop rezoning property to allow construction of apartments?

Yes.
No
     View Results