Late last month, Gov. Jay Nixon announced he would support an expansion of Missouri’s Medicaid program under ObamaCare. “[Expanding Medicaid is] the smart thing to do, and it’s the right thing to do,” he said.
Although one could describe Gov. Nixon’s announcement in many ways, “smart” and “right” would not appear in the parade of appropriate adjectives. Gov. Nixon doesn’t appear to have any plan to pay for the expansion, and he will be on his way out of Jefferson City when the new Medicaid costs begin to hit in earnest in 2017.
It fits a pattern. For decades, American politicians have feasted on the dangerous public misconception that federal spending through the states is essentially free money. It’s not. Missouri taxpayers are also federal taxpayers, liable for the debts that the federal government incurs in their names. There’s no level of government cost splitting that can change the fact that Missourians, their children, and their grandchildren will have to account for this spending.
The move isn’t “smart” or “right.” It is, however, “business as usual,” and Missourians can’t afford that.