Pat Toomey is Saving Medicaid — Here’s How

Member Group : PA Manufacturers' Assn.

I recently read Nick Field’s PennLive op-ed — "Pat Toomey is telling a dangerous lie about Medicaid" — and was dismayed at the histrionic tone directed at one of our most conscientious lawmakers.

"Lies are pernicious things."

These were the first four words in Field’s piece and, I must admit, they are laughably ironic. While he and I can agree on these four words, everything that succeeded them was nothing more than a fear-mongering screed of misinformation.

Let’s begin with the facts:

As we’re all aware, Congress is currently locked in an intense debate over the government’s role in health care. One issue in particular has drawn a justifiably large amount of attention: Medicaid reform.

Medicaid is a federal program that was originally intended to provide health care for low income Americans–the aged, disabled, and families who cannot otherwise get coverage for themselves.

As the Senate nears a vote on healthcare reform, activists are revving up the opposition

When President Barack Obama and Democrats in Congress passed Obamacare in 2009, they also created entirely new class of eligible individuals for Medicaid: able-bodied, working age, childless adults.

This creation of this new class of beneficiaries is colloquially known as the "Medicaid expansion."

Even before Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion became law, Medicaid was already wholly unsustainable. In fact, every single decade since its creation, Medicaid has grown faster than the rest of the U.S. economy, a trend that if left unchanged can only lead to its collapse.

This brings us to today. Knowing full well the aforementioned plight that could face Medicaid beneficiaries, our own Pat Toomey and Senate Republicans have set out to reform Medicaid so as to get it on a sustainable path, ensuring it can survive for generations to come.

How are they doing this?

The Pennsylvania Republican defended the rollback of Medicaid in the Senate GOP bill, which could come to a vote this week.

Field would have you believe they’re doing so by kicking all those who recently enrolled in Medicaid through the expansion to the curb, while simultaneously implementing draconian cuts that will leave millions of Americans dying in the streets… right? Wrong.

What Senator Toomey and Senate Republicans are proposing is not only reasonable, but absolutely necessary.

For starters, Senate Republicans’ health care proposal would make the Medicaid expansion permanent. Furthermore, it ensures that it is sustainable.

Today, federal taxpayers pay for at least 90 percent of the expanded Medicaid coverage a beneficiary receives, with the remaining 10 percent paid for by taxpayers in the beneficiary’s home state. This 90/10 split is unique only to those who receive Medicaid through the expansion. For every other class of beneficiary, the cost is roughly even for both the federal government and the states.

What Senator Toomey and Senate Republicans have proposed is that over the next seven years, the 90/10 split that covers Medicaid expansion gradually meet the federal to state dollars of every other class of Medicaid, on average 57/43 nationwide.

Field also asserts that Toomey wants to cut more than $800 million from Medicaid — also false.

Under the Senate’s plan, Medicaid spending would continue to increase, simply at a slower rate to make it sustainable. But for Field, this somehow constitutes "a cut."

Field says lies are pernicious things. I would like to remind Mr. Field of a quote from John Adams:

"Facts are stubborn things; and whatever our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passions, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence."

Regrettably for Field, the facts are not on his side.

Toomey is giving us the unvarnished truth and is saving Medicaid as he does so.

He is also living up to promises he made to Pennsylvanians: repealing and replacing Obamacare and putting our safety net programs on a sustainable fiscal path.

David N. Taylor is president of the Pennsylvania Manufacturers Association. He writes from Harrisburg. Readers may email him at [email protected].