PDT Staff Writer
Ohio Governor John Kasich has come under attack from an unexpected source. Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson Wednesday issued the following statement condemning Kasich for pledging to expand Medicaid under the new federal health care law:
“Governor Kasich has pledged to expand Medicaid under the Obamacare statute, which lures states into the program with promises of federal assistance. Despite that federal spending, the expansion will still cost states at least $12 billion a year once the program is fully implemented, and billions more over the long-term,” Wilson said. “Ohio’s expansion alone will cost federal taxpayers $17 billion from 2014-2019, according to a Kaiser estimate. Except there is not enough revenue to pay for Medicaid expansion. So it will have to be borrowed. Thanks to Governor Kasich, the American people will be paying interest on Ohio’s Medicaid expansion for posterity.”
Kasich’s plan would expand Medicaid eligibility to Ohioans earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty level (about $15,400 per person). But the extension comes with a condition: If the federal government fails to cover the bulk of the costs, as it has promised, the state will reverse course.
“We are going to extend Medicaid to the working poor and to those who are jobless trying to find work,” Kasich said.
Wilson said the fall out of that decision will not be pleasant.
“Overall, the burden being created by this massive expansion will add trillions of dollars to the national debt, as coverage will now be provided up to 133 percent of the poverty level. That means 23.8 million potential new enrollees. Which, at a current cost of about $4,950 per Medicaid recipient, will be a $117.8 billion annual, additional cost. And Governor Kasich is doing nothing to stop it,” Wilson said. “Compare that with Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, who leads much more of a blue state than Ohio. Yet Governor Corbett is standing on principle, while Kasich is cutting and running. In Ohio alone, if Medicaid is expanded, there will be 667,000 new enrollees. That’s more than a half million new government dependents being created in one of the most pivotal presidential electoral states in the union.”
Kasich’s budget summary says the expansion of Medicaid makes financial sense for the state as long as the federal government picks up most of the tab. As part of the Affordable Care Act, the federal government takes all the costs for newly insured Medicaid recipients for the first three years. After that, the federal government’s share is brought down to 95 percent and ultimately phased down to 90 percent.
“By implementing the Medicaid expansion, Kasich is forcing federal taxpayers to pay for what will ultimately prove to be an unsustainable expansion of the entitlement state. We call on the Ohio legislature to have the courage to correct his mistake, and refuse to go along with it,” Wilson said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at firstname.lastname@example.org