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Obamacare adds 450,000 Ohioans to Medicaid rolls

By   /   December 16, 2014  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 4 of 27 in the series Ohio's Obamacare expansion

By Jason Hart | Ohio Watchdog

Gov. John Kasich’s Obamacare expansion has put 450,941 Ohioans on Medicaid, outpacing his administration’s projections by 24 percent.

Instead of tempering leftist support for the expansion, budget-busting enrollment is portrayed as good news for Ohio; Obamacare sticks federal taxpayers with 100 percent of Medicaid expansion benefit costs through 2016.

In a Cleveland.com news story last month, Northeast Ohio Media Group reporter Robert Higgs asserted higher-than-expected enrollment “provides a fiscal argument for Gov. John Kasich as he lobbies the General Assembly to continue expanded Medicaid when he presents his budget proposals early next year.”

“I hope that common sense will prevail and that we won’t mess with what we see as working well,” Cathy Levine of the Universal Health Care Action Network told Higgs for a story published at Cleveland.com the following week.

When not promoting a federal Balanced Budget Amendment, Kasich has pressed the Ohio General Assembly to spend more federal dollars on his Obamacare expansion. A $2.5 billion appropriation Kasich rammed through the Ohio Controlling Board in 2013 expires June 30, assuming the money lasts until then.

Kasich — who expanded Medicaid over the General Assembly’s express disapproval — told attendees at a Dec. 4 infant mortality summit to march in favor of more Obamacare expansion spending, but critics are encouraging legislative opponents to stand their ground.

“Kasich is threatening to organize protests to ensure the state continues to expand ObamaCare,” Tarren Bragdon, CEO of the free market Foundation for Government Accountability, said in an email to Ohio Watchdog. “He’s clearly indicated his commitment to protecting the left’s welfare mentality more than the truly needy in Ohio.”

“Rather than succumb to Kasich’s fear tactics, this is the time for legislators to stand strong for Ohio, its patients and its taxpayers,” Bragdon continued.

With the federal government $18 trillion in debt, states are likely to find themselves on the hook for Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion sooner rather than later.

The Ohio Department of Medicaid’s November caseload report showed Obamacare expansion enrollment 88,468 greater than the 362,473 budgeted. Consistent with every caseload report this year, enrollment was greater in November than in any previous month, even after adjusting for retroactive eligibility.

“Ohio’s ObamaCare expansion is following a predictable pattern. More able-bodied adults are signing up than the state ever expected and costs are soaring out of control,” FGA research director Jonathan Ingram explained in an email. “What happens when the state’s share of those costs comes due in just a few short years?”

“Gov. Kasich is already prioritizing this new class of able-bodied adults over the truly needy,” Ingram added. “He’s already pushed tens of thousands of children and adults with developmental disabilities on Medicaid waiting lists to the back of the line to make room for his ObamaCare expansion. He’s already targeted pediatric hospitals for funding cuts. When the ObamaCare bill comes due, who else will he put on the chopping block?”

“It’s time for the legislature to put a stop to Gov. Kasich’s unilateral, immoral ObamaCare expansion. They need to start crafting a Medicaid expansion exit strategy, before Kasich turns the safety net into a tightrope.”

ODM’s latest release listed October enrollment 23 percent higher than projected, September enrollment 20 percent higher than projected, August enrollment 16 percent higher than projected and July enrollment 11 percent higher than projected.


Obamacare expansion enrollment in October, initially reported as 430,942, was revised to 444,520 in the latest caseload report. September enrollment was first reported as 401,307, increased to 421,438 last month and increased again to 429,638 in the new ODM report.

Enrollment figures reported for January, February, March, April, May, June, July and August were also revised upward from the previous monthly ODM report. At 366,483, the latest June Obamacare expansion enrollment figure exceeded the 366,000 ODM projected for next July.

A recent Health Policy Institute of Ohio brief compared Medicaid expansion enrollment to projections HPIO published in January 2013 from The Ohio State University and The Urban Institute. June enrollment reported last week by ODM was more than double the 153,959 projected by Urban Institute and 41 percent greater than the 260,360 projected by Ohio State.

Ohio’s legacy press hailed HPIO’s January 2013 study, which emphasized the short-term benefits of new federal spending, as proof the Obamacare expansion was good policy. Ohio State analysts now estimate 593,361 Ohioans will be enrolled in Medicaid under Obamacare next June, 664,565 will be enrolled in June 2016 and 703,667 will be enrolled in June 2017.

On Nov. 20, the state Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee released a fiscal year 2016 projection of $557 per member per month in benefit costs for Obamacare expansion recipients. Using new enrollment projections from Ohio State, this would translate to a $370 million monthly burden on taxpayers by mid-2016.

Part of 27 in the series Ohio's Obamacare expansion
  1. Obamacare expansion passes Ohio governor’s July 2015 projection
  2. Will Ohioans be taken in by Obamacare Medicaid spin?
  3. Ohio Gov. Kasich wants rubber stamp for Obamacare money
  4. Obamacare adds 450,000 Ohioans to Medicaid rolls
  5. Ohio: Who’s paying for Kasich’s Medicaid expansion?
  6. Ohio budget relies on billions in new Obamacare spending
  7. Ohio Obamacare expansion 33 percent over budget in first year
  8. Two-thirds of Ohio’s Obamacare enrollees are on Medicaid
  9. No money, no problem for Ohio Obamacare expansion
  10. Obamacare puts half a million Ohioans on Medicaid
  11. Ohio lawmakers show no inclination to stop budget-busting Obamacare expansion
  12. Ohio House Republicans embrace Obamacare expansion
  13. Ohio Obamacare expansion costs $3 billion in first 15 months
  14. Ohio’s Obamacare expansion already $1 billion over budget
  15. At $4 billion, Ohio Obamacare expansion blows past projected costs
  16. Ohio’s dependence on Medicaid is the worst in the Midwest
  17. Three-fourths of Ohio Obamacare enrollees are on Medicaid
  18. Ohio Medicaid spending is skyrocketing under Gov. Kasich
  19. Ohio’s Obamacare expansion has cost taxpayers $5 billion
  20. Ohio Obamacare expansion keeps getting bigger
  21. Has Ohio Gov. Kasich really restrained Medicaid growth?
  22. Flashback: Gov. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion end-run
  23. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion has cost taxpayers $7 billion
  24. Ohio Medicaid expansion sign-ups keep crushing projections
  25. How many Ohio Medicaid expansion enrollees have jobs?
  26. Ohio Medicaid expansion costs top $7.5 billion
  27. Ohio’s budget-busting Medicaid expansion trend continues


Jason was formerly a reporter for Watchdog.org