I’ve often argued against government spending on matters unrelated to the Constitutionally mandated payment of government debt, providing for the national defense, and seeing to the general Welfare (as defined by the clauses of Article I, Section 8). I’ve also argued for privatizing the major social welfare programs of Social Security and Medicare.
Now Oklahoma illustrates the failure to limit the one and do the other at the State level, with Medicaid standing in for Medicare.
Following the nationwide trend, Medicaid has taken a growing toll on Oklahoma’s budget. In 2017 the health-care program that is supposedly for the poor consumed nearly 25% of the state’s general fund, up from 14% in 2008, as nearly 200,000 more people enrolled. Lawmakers are left with less money for everything else, not least education.
Which also means crowding out spending on voucher and charter schools, which means crowding out school choice and competition-improved schools—including public schools.
All that spending on Medicaid, too, instead of the State privatizing that—to an extent; this program, after all, is intended to help the poor, so their contributions can’t cover all their medical costs—means Oklahoma’s citizens have less money to spend on their own needs and wants, which depresses economic activity, which reduces revenues to the State, which reduces monies available for programs like Medicaid…. And this chain doesn’t even address the addition of those 200,000 folks since 2008. That was the year the Panic began, and it may be that most of those added to the Medicaid rolls then truly should have been—but do all of them need to be on the rolls today, or is it time to re-tighten the eligibility criteria?