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Democrats Should Prove They Can Run The Medicaid Program We Already Pay For

New York Democrats continue to bang the drum for the New York Health Act, a health care plan that would place all New Yorkers on a state-provided health care plan.

Typically, the first argument against the plan, also known as Medicaid for All, is the cost. The Rand Corporation wrote in 2018 that in its analysis of the proposal estimates for health care-related taxes would need to be about $139 billion in 2022 and $210 billion in 2031 to fully finance New York Health. Under the status quo, the state is expected to collect about $89 billion in taxes from all sources in 2022; thus, the new taxes would be a 156% increase in total state tax revenue.

That’s a big number. What’s really troubling, though, is it doesn’t account for waste and abuse in the system, and we just received another reminder last week of the fraud and abuse in the state’s existing Medicaid system. Last week, Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli released five Medicaid audits that found $706.6 million in unnecessary, improper or questionable payments. An audit of Medicaid eligibility as determined by the New York State of Health found $4.9 million in questionable payments for 319 recipients who had died. Another $605 million was spent because the state Health Department didn’t find customers the lowest net cost drugs, leading the state to spend hundreds of millions it didn’t need to spend.

As some Democrats go door-to-door extolling the virtues of the New York Health Act, we wonder how fraud and waste won’t explode just like New York’s taxes would if the New York Health Act is enacted. Before Democrats pass an expansion of Medicaid, we’d like them to prove they can run the Medicaid program that we already pay (too much) for.

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