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Why states should say "No" to ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion.

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Saturday, April 6, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

Those who apparently believe that money truly grows on trees also suggest that ObamaCare's enormous expansion of Medicaid is a good deal for the states. Actually, it's a variation of the federal government's “trust us” trap.

Never mind the inevitable strings attached to any federal beneficence. Think of the No Child Left Behind fiasco, followed by federal waivers for states — if they jump through the right hoops.

Now state governors are supposed to believe that pouring more poor people into the broken Medicaid system somehow will fix it. After meeting last week with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Gov. Tom Corbett says he won't support this blind bargain without substantial changes. And for good reason.

An analysis by Grace-Marie Turner of the nonprofit Galen Institute (funded in part by the pharmaceutical and medical industries) provides some insights. The federal pitch is based on the faulty presumption that Big Government will honor its pledge to cover “100 percent” of the cost for adding uninsured people to Medicaid until 2016, at which point reimbursement drops to 90 percent.

But as Jennifer Stefano of Americans for Prosperity points out, Congress today “cannot guarantee what money future congresses will ever give the states.” And based on a 2011 congressional study, Ms. Turner reports that the Medicaid expansion will cost the states at least $118 billion through 2023.

The worst, most contemptible government schemes begin with the lure of “free” money — enough to sucker recipients into an eventual cost they cannot afford.

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