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Exacerbating Medicaid's failure

| Saturday, Nov. 16, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Up is down.

Black is white.

Conservatism is “radical.”

Liberalism is “the normal state of things.”

Religious principles and convictions? Why, those are nothing more than “bigotry.”

Race-neutral policies? “Racism,” obviously.

The immutable laws of economics? Mutable and relative; an archaic construct.

The theft that is wealth-transference? “Fairness” in the eyes of the liberals who now eschew the moniker for its negative connotations in favor of “progressives,” which more accurately tags them for the socialists they are.

This is the state of contemporary America, the product of declining intellectual wherewithal fueled by the educratic establishment's failure to inculcate critical thinking skills as it teaches revisionist history.

This sad state of affairs is on no worse display than in the current debate over ObamaCare.

It's nothing more than a government takeover of one-sixth of the U.S. economy, the result of which was predictable and now is being proven as an unmitigated failure. Think not only of the basic perversion of the market (and, for the record, a government-mandated market hardly is the free marketplace) or of the technical glitches in the ObamaCare website, but of the major unintended consequence of that failure, one of which is more and more people signing up for Medicaid.

“Medicaid signups an early ObamaCare bright spot,” went the headline on a CBS News dispatch. The story touts how 444,000 people have signed up for the means-tested, subsidized health insurance program designed to aid the poor but, these days, available even to families of decidedly middle-class incomes. And that's thought be a fraction of the real number, notes the story, framing the development as nothing short of a grand success story.

Denizens of the far left, such as Brad Woodhouse, former communications director of the Democratic National Committee, now president of Americans United for Change, seize on the number as being a catalyst for everything from saving state budgets and being a wonderful jobs generator, to saving struggling hospitals (perennial taxpayer teat suckers).

Would that it could. But it won't. Because it can't. Because Medicaid, already a ticking time bomb, now surely is ever closer to detonation.

“Medicaid needs reform, not expansion,” reminded Heritage Foundation health policy scholar Nina Owcharenko in a March white paper. Not only will expansion consume an ever larger portion of state and federal budgets, “Research shows a long history of Medicaid enrollees having worse access and outcomes than privately insured individuals,” she adds.

Medicaid “is already struggling to provide care to its core obligations — a diverse group of low-income children, disabled, pregnant women and seniors,” writes Ms. Owcharenko. “Adding more people further exacerbates Medicaid's underlying problems.”

And up is down, black is white and, “Hi, I'm from the government and I'm here to help you.”

Colin McNickle is Trib Total Media's director of editorial pages (412-320-7836 or cmcnickle@tribweb.com).

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