Free Money

There is a letter currently circulating from Gary Patton in which he attempts to make an argument that the state GOP are in the wrong for turning down federal funds.  You can read the letter in full HERE.

Suppose you lent a friend some money. Afterwards, you had medical problems, but didn’t have the money to pay your bills. Your friend offered to pay back the money you borrowed to help pay them, but you refused to take it saying, “I don’t want your money.” Your friend said that if you didn’t take the money he owed you, he would have to give it to others to repay debts. He added (somewhat unkindly), “That’s crazy. I don’t think you need medical care. I think you need psychiatric care.”

Well, that essentially is what State Senate Republicans are doing – refusing money from the federal government we paid in taxes that could now be used to help pay the state’s medical bills. If we don’t take back the money we gave Washington, the federal government will distribute it to other states. Perhaps, since all Republicans in the State Senate declined the money,  they could all benefit from not just individual psychiatric treatment to treat their bizarre reasoning, but also group therapy.

Sure sounds like a convincing argument, after all it's our money we'd be taking back from our "friend"... where's the problem, right?

The problem is this "friend", the federal government, doesn't just give away money.  They give money with strings attached.

Gary points out some of the problem within his own argument:

What exactly is the problem? Democrats in the State House passed legislation expanding the Medicaid provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Democratic governor Maggie Hassan also supports the expansion.


If Medicaid is expanded, estimates are that 58,000 Granite Staters will be added to the program. What is the federal government prepared to do to help pay for this expansion?  The state would be given $2.5 billion to pay for medical costs over seven years at a cost of $85 million to the state. The federal money would cover 100 percent of costs for the first three years and 90 percent thereafter.

There's the hook.  Just like a drug dealer, the first one is free but after you get hook you pay and pay and pay.

This "free" money only covers 100% for 3 years then drops to 90% (making the state responsible for $5.8 million a year additional spending for the next 4 years and who knows what if anything we'd get beyond that.  Some estimates believe it will cost us an increase of nearly $200 million over the next 7 years.

This is the shell game no one wins at.  The spending is hidden until further down the road then after we've become addicted to it anyone who dares cut it becomes the villain.

Another fact to consider is of the 58,000 people being added to this government program, 34,000 already have private insurance.  These 34,000 would be shifted from private insurance onto the backs of taxpayers.

As tempting as that carrot appears don't be fooled into thinking it's really "free money".