By Jason Hart | Ohio Watchdog
Ohio Medicaid enrollment under Gov. John Kasich’s Obamacare expansion hit 367,395 in August, passing the Republican governor’s projection for July 2015.
Kasich told taxpayers and the Ohio General Assembly that an estimated 366,000 Ohioans would be enrolled in Medicaid under Obamacare at the start of the state’s 2016 fiscal year. This projection is reflected in a Governor’s Office of Health Transformation chart released in February 2013.
Kasich unilaterally enacted the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in late 2013, circumventing state legislators who disputed his assurances the new federal entitlement would use “Ohio’s tax dollars” to provide Christian charity to the poor.
The left-leaning Urban Institute has projected that almost 90 percent of uninsured Ohioans eligible for Medicaid under Obamacare are able-bodied, childless adults of working age. The Ohio Department of Medicaid has estimated “about half” have jobs.
“Ohio is just the latest example in a long string of states that have exceeded enrollment and cost projections for their ObamaCare expansions,” Foundation for Government Accountability Director of Research Jonathan Ingram told Watchdog.org via email. “When states start picking up a larger share of the costs, these overruns will cause serious problems.”
“Sadly, past Medicaid expansions have shown exactly what happens when these kinds of projections are off,” Ingram added. “Politicians start prioritizing coverage for able-bodied adults over care needed by truly needy patients.”
“In Arizona, that meant cutting life-saving organ transplants to protect benefits for able-bodied adults. In Oregon, it meant cutting care for patients with late stage cancers. When costs run over budget, it’s the most vulnerable who get put on the chopping block.”
At a glance, the Ohio Department of Medicaid caseload report for August shows Obamacare expansion enrollment growing modestly. However, month-to-month growth is masked by backdated eligibility inflating enrollment for preceding months.
July enrollment in Group VIII, the Obamacare expansion group, was reported as 338,707 in the July caseload report, but was revised to 358,929 in the August report. June enrollment, first reported as 285,553, jumped to 328,069 in the next caseload report and increased again to 342,056 in the report released Tuesday.
In each ODM caseload report since Kasich’s Obamacare expansion took effect in January, enrollment has gone up every month even as backdated enrollment has increased every previous month’s figures.
January enrollment, initially reported as 23,156, was reported as 132,768 on Tuesday. February enrollment was initially reported as 54,031, but on Tuesday was reported as 180,973.
When retroactive eligibility is accounted for in the September caseload report released next month, July 2014 enrollment will likely surpass Kasich’s July 2015 projection.
Ohio Medicaid enrollment under the Obamacare expansion as reported Tuesday by the Ohio Department of Medicaid is shown below.
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