Proponents of Medicaid expansion, including Ohio’s Governor John Kasich, have suggested recently that “[t]he opposition to [Medicaid expansion] was really either political or ideological,” and have claimed that expanding Medicaid has nothing to do with ObamaCare.
As the leading opponent of Medicaid expansion in Ohio, The Buckeye Institute’s opposition-as our latest blog explains-does not stem from politics or ideology, but is rooted in our concern for sound public policy.
Medicaid expansion was bad policy last year, it remains bad policy this year, and it will continue to be bad policy with rising and unforeseen long-term costs for years to come. As we have argued:
“[Expanding Medicaid] places unsustainable financial liabilities on future taxpayers. It will provide an additional burden to a labor market that has already been reeling in Ohio, doing long-term damage to the economy and compounding the expansion’s direct impacts to the state budget. We have also pointed out that this economic sacrifice is for a program that has not proven to be able to obtain significantly better health outcomes for most recipients and fails to provide a real saving grace to the most vulnerable.”
Further, to suggest that the Medicaid expansion is somehow distinct from ObamaCare is simply not accurate. The Heritage Foundation revealed this week that nearly 71% of individuals receiving coverage under ObamaCare are getting it through the expanded Medicaid program. The Medicaid expansion was a key component of ObamaCare and the Obama Administration’s so-called healthcare reform initiative, and to suggest otherwise borders on the disingenuous.
Even more misleading is the revisionist claim that expanding Medicaid extends President Reagan’s legacy. Former Reagan Attorney General, Ed Meese, and the Buckeye Institute’s president, Robert Alt, set the record straight last year in an article for National Review:
“Reagan cut through irrational federal regulations to allow children to live with their parents, where they could receive care that would cost the taxpayer one-sixth as much as institutional care. By contrast, Obamacare has added thousands of pages of bureaucratic regulations and will cost the federal government untold billions.”
Next year, the Medicaid expansion will have to be re-authorized, and Ohio leaders should take a hard look at their ill-advised expansion-a move that, so far, has led to more than 400,000 new enrollees-that is already 12% above expectations for the middle of next year. As enrollment continues to escalate, so will the costs, especially as the state assumes its share of the burden required by Obamacare. And if the federal matching rate changes, these costs could rise exponentially.
Rea Hederman, our Executive Vice President, reminded us in a recent interview of at least one serious danger tied to these rising costs:
“Remember that all government spending ultimately results in taxation. If Ohio continues Medicaid expansion, that means higher taxes on citizens of Ohio to pay for Medicaid expansion at the federal and state level.”
Ohio’s policymakers cannot hide from that ominous but fundamental fact, and they should not hide behind misleading rhetoric, name-calling, or a revisionist rewriting of history to prop-up bad policy decisions. The expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare was bad policy for Ohio when it was enacted, and it is bad for Ohio today. The Buckeye Institute will continue to oppose bad policy-precisely because it is bad policy-as we work for a better tomorrow.
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