By Karie Caldwell
The push to expand Medicaid in Idaho is morphing into a movement for government-run healthcare—and that’s not good news for those who like affordable healthcare.
Idaho Freedom Foundation president Wayne Hoffman recently wrote a commentary in which he highlighted Reclaim Idaho’s long-term ambitions to implement a government-run healthcare system. He noted, such a system would be funded “through outrageously high taxes and a massive national debt to be paid by our kids and grandkids.” Hoffman is right. If every American were covered by Medicaid, that would require much higher taxes and almost certainly would add to an already outrageous national debt. A government-run healthcare system would not make healthcare “free,” but rather, it would just change the form of payment to taxes and debt.
Medicaid expansion is like a gateway drug for a single-payer system, which would foster dependency on government-run programs. And we had better watch within our own state, because, as Hoffman puts it, “Today’s Obamacare proponents are tomorrow’s single-payer activists.”
The United States boasts a mixture of private and government health programs, with many citizens purchasing private insurance and millions on Medicaid and Medicare. There is also a mixture of private and government hospitals, with veteran care provided by the government.
This mixture complicates healthcare regulations and costs. But the solution to high-cost healthcare is not to increase regulations and government-run programs. The ideal situation for a consumer would be to have multiple private companies competing for their business. Competition drives prices down. But government-run healthcare does not and will never work this way.
Expansion of Medicaid in Idaho may begin with Proposition Two, an attempt to extend “free” government healthcare to single, childless, working adults. This perpetuates the unaffordability of healthcare. As more citizens are covered by Medicaid, the cost of private coverage will increase as demand for health care services grows, and proponents of Medicaid expansion will find a new group deemed unable to afford healthcare. And expansion will just repeat.
The solution for healthcare affordability does not lie with a government-run healthcare program. Affordability comes from market competition provided by private programs. Passage of Proposition Two in Idaho will only get us further from the solution to high healthcare costs.
*Karie Caldwell serves as a Precinct Committee Officer and State Committee Woman in the Bonneville County Central Committee. Caldwell also serves as the Communications Director on the Bonneville County Central Committee Executive Committee.