The Senator is starting the first of the tricky two-step I mentioned Wednesday she had to do here in order to try and get re-elected to a second term in the US Senate, the first part being to appeal to her base to turn out in strong numbers in November. Via HuffPo:
WASHINGTON — Sen. Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) may be in one of this year’s most competitive elections, but she signaled Thursday that she’s prepared to fully embrace the benefits of Obamacare as part of her ticket to victory.
During a Senate confirmation hearing for Health and Human Services nominee Sylvia Burwell, Hagan lamented that leaders of her home state decided to opt out of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. The result is about 500,000 North Carolina residents who would have qualified for Medicaid are unable to enroll.
“These are some of the most vulnerable citizens in our country who will continue to seek care in emergency rooms, and then will leave chronic conditions unmanaged, which is detrimental not only to their health but to the economy too,” Hagan said. “It leads to higher costs for the patients, it drives up costs for hospitals and it drives up costs for the insured.”
Hagan asked Burwell to describe the experiences of states that expanded Medicaid under the health care law last year, compared with the 24 states that didn’t. Burwell said in West Virginia, for example, which expanded its Medicaid coverage, there already has been a decrease in the number of uninsured people. More broadly, she said, expanded Medicaid programs translate to increased quality of care, which boosts people’s productivity and ultimately fuels the economy.
Hagan also got Burwell to clearly state how much it would have cost North Carolina to cover newly eligible Medicaid recipients if the state had expanded its program under Obamacare: Nothing.
“That would be zero,” Burwell said. “The state doesn’t pay.”
“For three years, the states pay zero,” Hagan chimed in.
“The federal government will pay for those years,” Burwell said.
The devil, as they say, is always in the details – as the John Locke Foundation’s Becki Gray explained in this October piece at Carolina Journal Online:
North Carolina’s Medicaid costs are the highest in the Southeast and among the highest in the United States. For the past four fiscal years, Medicaid spending has exceeded its budget by 11 percent.
Total Medicaid costs have gone up 90 percent in the last 10 years. Medicaid costs crowd out spending on other public programs, including education, salary increases for teachers and other public employees, and transportation.
The proposed Medicaid expansion would cost North Carolina taxpayers an extra $3.1 billion over a 10-year period. By 2020, the state would incur net costs of nearly $100 million, jumping to $119 million one year later.
Even though the federal government says it will pay 100 percent of the cost of new enrollees for the first three years and 90 percent by the 10th year of expansion, the expansion would not be free. The money would come from federal taxes; North Carolinians would pay for the additional coverage.
Moreover, the federal government does not always abide by its promises. In 1982, the feds promised to cover 40 percent of the program costs for the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act. Today, Washington provides only 17 percent of the funding. In addition, experts predict that states expanding Medicaid under Obamacare will have less flexibility and control over their Medicaid programs.
In other words, “free” is not really “free” when it comes to anything connected to government programs or services – and absolutely NOTHING is “guaranteed.” There is always a cost, and someone has to pay for it – and those “someones” ALWAYS end up being you and me. Funny how the left always fails to mention that inconvenient truth.
Senator Hagan can offer up all the “stunningly strong” defenses of Obamacare that she wants to, but these facts will never change, no matter how often she wants to apply a fresh coat of paint on the old “Affordable Care Act” barn:
1) 476,000 North Carolinians lost health insurance plans they liked as a result of Obamacare. Millions more across the country lost theirs as well as a result of her vote.
2) Many more of those same North Carolinians saw their premiums go up and/or saw their deductibles go up – for less care and less choices than they had before.
3) Obamacare has cost North Carolinians jobs – including ones that have bumped down from full time to part time as a result of the hours mandate employers face that forces them to provide health care insurance coverage. Not to mention businesses holding off on investing further due to the massive, expensive health insurance regulations under the ACA.
4) Hagan lied and said in more ways than one at least 24 times, “If you like your health insurance plan you can keep it.”
I could go on but you get the picture. There are other ways our health insurance system could have been changed that wouldn’t have resulted in so many hundreds of thousands in this state losing plans, having to sign on to more expensive plans, losing their jobs or full time status, etc. But Obamacare was crafted by liberal Democrats like Senator Hagan who would rather remain true to her party leaders than loyal to her state. She chose DC Democrats over her own constituency here in the state of North Carolina on this issue. There’s simply no other way to spin it, no matter how stirring her defenses of the bill might be.