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At $4 billion, Ohio Obamacare expansion blows past projected costs

By   /   July 10, 2015  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 15 of 27 in the series Ohio's Obamacare expansion

By Jason Hart | Ohio Watchdog

Expanding Medicaid to working-age Ohioans with no kids and no disabilities was supposed to cost $2.56 billion in its first year and a half.

So much for that.

After just 18 months, Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s Obamacare expansion has cost federal taxpayers more than $4 billion.

ohio-ocare-expansion-cost-2015-06

Kasich underestimated the cost of the first 18 months of his Obamacare expansion by roughly $1.5 billion. Enrollment was almost 600,000 at the end of June, compared to Kasich’s projection of 366,000.

Ohio’s Obamacare expansion has cost far more than expected because enrollment and per-member costs have both rocketed past expectations.

Benefit costs have exceeded $325 million each of the past three months, and $300 million for seven months straight — setting a course for a total cost of $5 billion before the end of the year.

Obamacare provides 100 percent federal funding for Medicaid expansion through December 2016. States will have to pay five percent of the expansion’s benefit costs starting in 2017, and ten percent starting in 2020.

With the federal government $18 trillion in debt, Congress is likely to make changes to Obamacare expansion’s federal match rate, further increasing the burden on participating states.

FACT SHEET: Ohio Obamacare Expansion

Jonathan Ingram, research director at the free-market Foundation for Government Accountability, said Ohioans should be concerned about who will be “put on the chopping block” to pay for Kasich’s Obamacare expansion.

“In just a year and a half, Kasich has put more able-bodied adults on Medicaid welfare than his administration thought would ever enroll,” Ingram said.

He noted that in Kasich’s last two budgets, the governor “has proposed slashing funding to pediatric hospitals and kicking pregnant women off of the program.”

“At this point, one thing is clear: Ohio’s Medicaid expansion costs are rapidly spiraling out of control,” Ingram said.

“Instead of traveling the country lobbying other states to expand ObamaCare, maybe Gov. Kasich should stay in Ohio and figure out a way to roll back his disastrous Medicaid expansion, before it’s too late,” he concluded.

Kasich contends his Obamacare expansion is paid for with “Ohio money” and has been a rousing success. He has bashed the policy’s critics during unofficial presidential campaign trips to South Dakota, Montana, Georgia, North Carolina and elsewhere.

RELATED: Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s Obamacare Roadshow hits Iowa

On Thursday when the Ohio Department of Medicaid released its June spending report, Kasich was in Tennessee telling Gov. Bill Haslam to keep up the fight for Obamacare expansion.

“Part of the problem is people develop an ideological opposition and then don’t want to be confused by the facts,” Kasich told Obamacare supporters at a campaign stop in Nashville.

Unlike Kasich, who expanded Medicaid unilaterally after Ohio lawmakers voted against it, Haslam — a fellow Republican — has been thwarted repeatedly by his state’s legislature.

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

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Jason is an Ohio-based reporter covering labor issues for Watchdog.org, with a focus on right-to-work, public employee unions and Obamacare. Before joining Watchdog, Jason was communications director for Media Trackers Ohio. His work has been featured at FoxNews.com, Hot Air, The Daily Signal, RedState, Townhall and elsewhere. His investigations into labor union spending and Obamacare's Medicaid expansion have been cited by national commentators including Jim Geraghty, Michelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, Dana Loesch and Mark Levin. Jason can be reached on Twitter at @jasonahart and by email at [email protected]