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The truth about the latest Medi-scare

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By Jennifer Stefano
Friday, March 29, 2013, 8:57 p.m.
 

Here's how you know you have a product or an idea that just won't sell: You have to bully or coerce people to get their buy-in.

We see it all the time with the union bosses. They're always extolling the virtues of unions, but fundamentally they fail to answer this question: If your union is so great, why do you need laws forcing people to join it?

The same goes for Medicaid.

When the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the federal government had no right to force states to expand the government-run health insurance program for low-income individuals, some states, including Pennsylvania, decided they wouldn't bother.

Gov. Tom Corbett is exhibiting exemplary leadership by refusing to expand the program (and I do hope Corbett continues to stand strong and that I will not be forced to eat those words). But the hysterical and special-interest-funded advocates of Medicaid expansion are pushing a new argument to coerce states into the scheme. They claim that unless a state expands, its employers will be subjected to increased tax penalties.

Like all things regarding ObamaCare and particularly Medicaid, the pro-ObamaCare, pro-Medicaid advocates are misunderstanding the complicated and complex health-care law when they use this new Medi-scare tactic.

This argument is obviously flawed for several reasons.

As health-care policy experts have argued, the employer penalty tax will only hit businesses in states that have state-based exchanges. And guess what Corbett did to protect us? He blocked the creation of a state-based exchange. Arguing that states like Pennsylvania, which refused a state exchange and is rejecting Medicaid expansion, will now see employer-mandate taxes is outright false.

Let's say, for the hysterical left-wingers' sake, that the tax does end up applying to businesses in states with federal and partnership exchanges. Well, then the tax would only apply to businesses when their employees purchase insurance through the exchange and only if the employer-sponsored insurance is unaffordable.

Even some supporters of the president's law admit that many people will instead opt to pay the individual mandate penalty, only $95 in 2014, instead of spending the time, effort and money to purchase insurance on a health insurance exchange — even with the federal tax subsidy.

Additionally, individuals could have employer-sponsored insurance options available to them as well. So even if the tax does apply, it will be insignificant, not the $1.3 billion floating through the media.

Supporters of the president's health-care law are worried that states won't be willing participants in the flawed expansion of the broken and costly Medicaid system. So now they are resorting to false statements and arguments to scare states into acting.

Perhaps they aren't being disingenuous and just don't understand their beloved, complicated regulatory nightmare. Regardless of the reasons for false statements, states should ignore the arguments and instead look at the facts.

Jennifer Stefano is Pennsylvania director of Americans for Prosperity and a commentator on Lincoln Radio Journal.

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