Yesterday, gubernatorial candidate Rob McKenna posted on Crosscut a variety of statements on how to impair our state Medicaid system, and chose to omit any sort of content on how consequences of those changes would affect our state.
While blasting Medicaid expansion(which, by the way, is in contrast to how 67% of Americans feel), Mr. McKenna ignores the fact that the Medicaid expansion for family planning has increased service to 99,000 Washingtonians, increased contraception use, and decreased unintended pregnancy, and if maximized, this expansion could serve and additional 2,700 people, prevent 370 additional unintended pregnancies, and actually save the state $1.1 million dollars per annum. This is not exactly something the “state can’t afford”, but of course, Rob McKenna isn’t known for being forward on these issues.
Additionally, McKenna proposed instituting fees on low-income individuals looking for healthcare services, which, as stated by the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities, would cause them to stop using critical services, and well as “trigger the subsequent use of more expensive forms of care such as emergency room care or hospitalization”. Pardon me, but I’m not precisely sure where this counts as reform.
But, of course, there’s more. In McKenna’s plan, he rehashes the conservative plan to block grant Medicaid, a plan who’s most recent standard bearer has been Tea Party Congressman Paul Ryan. Block grant are not exactly a new idea, and First Focus, a “bipartisan advocacy organization” for children and families, has come right out against the block grant program, holding no punches in their report, “Bad for Kids”. Only 35% of people believe that Medicaid should be reduced to a block grant program, and First Focus continues in their report to say that instituting a block grant system “could unravel decades of progress toward reducing the number of uninsured children and fundamentally undermine the nation’s long-standing commitment to guaranteeing vulnerable children health care coverage”.
Preventing the expansion of Medicaid, or pursuing these “reforms”, would be bad for family planning and bad for Washingtonians of all ages. I just hope this candidate for governor has better ideas on other issues, because his plan for Medicaid definitely seems like a strike out.