Sunday, March 17, 2013

Medicaid benefits politicians more than it benefits citizens

Published in The Tennessean, Sunday, March 17, 2013 and the full version at FORBES with archives.

Richard J. Grant

In how many states have the governors or legislators claimed that their state would be a net beneficiary of federal spending for Medicaid expansion? There are supporters of Medicaid expansion in all 50 states who do make such claims. But not everyone can be a net beneficiary of subsidization.

When redistribution is the game, someone must be a net contributor. What becomes important here is that the burdens borne by such contributors are not necessarily relevant to the decision process. The question of whether Medicaid expansion brings net benefits to a state is a less-useful predictor of a state politician’s actions than is the expected effect of that expansion on the politician’s reelection chances. ...

Richard J. Grant is a Professor of Finance and Economics at Lipscomb University and a Senior Fellow at the Beacon Center of Tennessee. His column appears fortnightly on Sundays. E-mail messages received at:

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