In Pence, America’s needy finally have an ally on healthcare in the White House
© Greg Nash

Most people agree on what seems to be a pretty basic fact: the same dollar cannot be spent twice. Money is finite. And when government spends a dollar – or several billion – giving welfare to people who shouldn’t receive it, logic follows that those dollars cannot then be spent on something else. Pretty simple, right?

Well, apparently not for everyone.

In his recent remarks to the National Governor’s Association, Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceSimon & Schuster CEO Jonathan Karp defends Pence book deal: report Gohmert says Jan. 6 mob attack on Capitol not an 'armed insurrection' House Democrats unveil .9 billion bill to boost security after insurrection MORE drove home this simple truth – that resources are limited and, as a consequence of that reality, ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion has put “far too many able-bodied adults on the Medicaid rolls, leaving many disabled and vulnerable Americans at the back of the line.” The left proceeded to have a meltdown.


The problem for them – and for all of us – is that Pence was right.


ObamaCare allowed states to expand Medicaid to a new class of able-bodied, working-age adults. Although most of these adults have no dependent children and nothing keeping them from meaningful employment, millions of them do not work at all. These are the able-bodied adults who have moved to the front of the line under ObamaCare.

Pence’s point, which is salient, was that ObamaCare transformed Medicaid from a safety net for the needy to a catchall welfare pit. Specifically, able-bodied adults are now pitted against traditional Medicaid populations – seniors, poor children and individuals with disabilities – to compete for limited resources.

No matter how liberals try to spin it, the same dollar cannot be spent twice. Every dollar that goes to fund welfare for an able-bodied adult is a dollar that cannot go to provide services to the truly needy. That is an undeniable fact. The left’s tantrum and assertion to the contrary only serve to remind the country just how far out of touch with reality they really are.

Pence also highlighted a real-life example of how the truly needy are being deprioritized in ObamaCare’s America. Specifically, more than 60,000 Ohioans who are currently languishing on the state’s Medicaid waiting list. (Nationwide, total waiting list enrollment now exceeds 640,000.)

In Ohio, these are individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who need additional home and community-based services. But they’re still not getting the care they need and, judging by the path Ohio is currently on, they won’t be getting it any time soon.

Contrast these truly needy Ohioans with more than 725,000 able-bodied adults the state has enrolled in its Medicaid expansion and you’ll start to see the problem more clearly. Disabled Ohioans wait for the care they need while nearly three-quarter of a million able-bodied adults get “free” welfare. It’s immoral which was exactly Pence’s point. And he’s right.

But ObamaCare’s cruelty doesn’t stop there. When you get down into the weeds, the outlook for the truly vulnerable gets even bleaker.

ObamaCare doesn’t just take a dollar that could go to the truly needy and give it to someone else, although that would be bad enough. ObamaCare’s perverse funding formula actually incentivizes states to make cuts to traditional Medicaid in order to protect funding for ObamaCare expansion.

Going forward, as states struggle to fund their spiraling expansions, it will no longer simply be a dollar that could have gone to the truly needy. It’ll be dollars that are directly taken away from them.

In fact, because of the widespread enrollment explosion that states are facing, these cuts are already starting.

Pence deserves thanks, not scorn, for raising awareness about ObamaCare’s devastating impact on the truly vulnerable. As he put it, reforms that prioritize the needy are long overdue. And perhaps, finally, America’s vulnerable have an ally in the White House.

Nic Horton (@nhhorton) is a senior research fellow at the nonprofit Foundation for Government Accountability.

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