Viewpoint: GOP fatally hooked on Medicaid expansion

Republicans are struggling to come to a consensus on healthcare because of a political maneuver from the other side of the aisle, wrote Daniel Henninger, The Wall Street Journal's deputy editor of the editorial page, in an op-ed.

That maneuver was Medicaid expansion. Once a handful of Republican states got a taste of enhanced federal funding, they were hooked. The program has grown to become the second-largest cost for most states and its growth is paid for by siphoning funds from other programs, Mr. Henninger wrote. The entitlement program pays physicians 66 percent of Medicare rates, reducing providers' willingness to care for Medicaid patients and reducing the quality of the program, according to Mr. Henninger.

"Medicaid is already a fiscal ruin and lowest-common-denominator medicine. Advocates say it's better than nothing for the poor or uninsured, but well-controlled studies put even that claim in doubt," he wrote.

The "Faustian" program has become an "albatross," Mr. Henninger wrote. But baking Medicaid expansion into healthcare reform has created a divide among Republicans who chose to expand and who chose not to expand the program. "Give credit: Obamacare's designers got this part right," Mr. Henninger wrote of the divide.

Read the full op-ed here.

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