If money grew on trees, government involvement improved healthcare, and fraud and abuse was minimal — I could support Medicaid expansion.
Government involvement has driven up the cost of medical care, and the honest hardworking taxpayer is paying for care of many who could be paying for their own. I have seen many of the following patients: Patient A works hard, gives honest account, cannot afford needed tests and procedure. Patient B knows how to work the system, gets the tests and procedures basically for free. It is easy to scam this system.
Since Obamacare passed, most physician groups support Medicaid expansion. Is it because physicians are happy with government-controlled health care? No.
It is because after Obamacare passed, costly regulations and taxes soared while payments dropped, forcing most physicians to work for organizations like hospitals. When this happened, physicians lost their autonomy as they must tow their employer’s line.
Meanwhile, physician shortages grow and physician burnout is at an all-time high.
Decisions for and against medical testing and treatment are decided by insurance and government bureaucracies rather than patient-physician joint decision.
Rationing has become commonplace, especially among the elderly whose care is often delayed or denied. Medicaid expansion is costly to our pocketbooks and our liberties, is rife with fraud. Quality of medical care diminishes proportional to government involvement.
Furthermore, it is not compassionate toward hard-working, tax paying Montanans nor toward those whose care is rationed because of it.
Annie Bukacek, MD