For every Ohioan who has paid an Obamacare exchange premium, three have been added to Medicaid under Gov. John Kasich’s Obamacare expansion.
As of June 30, only 188,223 Ohioans had selected and paid for a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov. Enrollment in Kasich’s Obamacare expansion was 609,373 in June.
Obamacare expansion put working-age adults with no kids and no disabilities on Medicaid — a welfare program meant for children, impoverished families, the elderly and the disabled.
If Kasich had opted out of Medicaid expansion, taxpayers would be stuck with the tab for fewer than 200,000 subsidized Obamacare insurance policies. Instead, Ohio’s total Obamacare enrollment is nearly 800,000.
In June, Medicaid expansion accounted for 76.4 percent of Ohio’s Obamacare enrollment and plans purchased through the federal HealthCare.gov exchange accounted for just 23.6 percent.
Ohio’s Obamacare enrollment has grown increasingly tilted over time. In February, 68 percent of Ohio Obamacare enrollees were on Medicaid.
Campaigning for the Republican presidential nomination, Kasich says he would repeal Obamacare. But he claims Medicaid expansion is separate from the rest of the law, and his vague health policy plans would keep most of Obamacare in place.
In its first 18 months, Kasich’s Obamacare expansion enrolled 243,373 more people than projected and ran $1.5 billion over budget.
Matt Mayer, president of free-market think tank Opportunity Ohio, was among the critics who said Kasich’s Obamacare expansion would cost more than expected and would be nearly impossible to roll back.
“Does John Kasich expect anyone to believe given his constant religious lecturing that he will toss 800,000 Ohioans to the curb? Kasichcare will be Obamacare lite,” Mayer said in an email to Ohio Watchdog.
Kasich insists Ohio would undo Medicaid expansion if Congress cut federal funding below the 90 percent promised in Obamacare, but he often suggests the Bible calls for a bigger welfare state. He has credited Obamacare expansion with saving lives.
Mayer told Ohio Watchdog increasing federal welfare spending is a bad idea, whether through the Obamacare exchange or Medicaid expansion.
“Either way, Obamacare is nearing 1,000,000 enrollees in Ohio with an enormous debt load being put on our kids and grandkids to pay for it,” Mayer said. “Nothing about that is conservative no matter how you define it.”
Ohio Watchdog contacted the governor’s office with questions about the latest Obamacare enrollment figures. Kasich’s press secretary did not respond.
Kasich’s presidential campaign touts Medicaid expansion enrollment as proof of his compassionate conservatism — a strategy that will backfire if primary voters realize Medicaid expansion is a central pillar of Obamacare.
An August poll commissioned by free-market nonprofit FGA Action found that between 74 and 82 percent of Republican likely voters in New Hampshire, Iowa, South Carolina and Florida oppose Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
The poll’s results were bad news for Kasich, whose prospects have been buoyed by $5 million in uncontested super PAC advertising: 64 percent of Republican voters in South Carolina are less likely to vote for a candidate who implemented Obamacare expansion. Those numbers were 61 percent in Iowa, 59 percent in Florida and 56 percent in New Hampshire.
In all four of the early primary states, an even greater number of respondents said they were less likely to vote for a Republican who promoted Obamacare expansion in other states.
After unilaterally expanding Medicaid over Ohio lawmakers’ opposition in 2013, Kasich toured the country imploring lawmakers in other states to embrace Obamacare expansion.
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