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Kasich’s Medicaid expansion has cost taxpayers $7 billion

By   /   March 21, 2016  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 23 of 27 in the series Ohio's Obamacare expansion

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid under the 2010 federal health law has cost taxpayers $7 billion in a little more than two years.

The federal government — which is $19 trillion in debt — paid $390 million for Ohio Medicaid expansion benefits in February, bringing the program’s total cost since January 2014 to $7.1 billion.

Kasich frames his Obamacare expansion as a fiscally responsible way to keep drug addicts and the mentally ill out of prison, even as costs zoom past his projections. The expansion was $1.5 billion over budget after 18 months.

oh-ocare-expansion-cost-2016-02

“Ohio’s Obamacare expansion has already run $3.1 billion over budget and is on track to run nearly $8 billion over budget by the end of next year,” Jonathan Ingram, research director at the free-market Foundation for Government Accountability, told Watchdog.org.

“Finding the funding to pay for those overruns will mean fewer resources for education, public safety, and care for the most vulnerable,” Ingram said.

Obamacare expansion spending already dwarfs the monthly budgets of many state programs; disbursements for the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Corrections, for example, totaled $100 million in February.

Ingram noted that changes to the state’s Medicaid eligibility determination process will soon bump thousands of disabled Ohioans from the Medicaid rolls, while 670,000 able-bodied, working-age adults are enrolled under Kasich’s Obamacare expansion.

Kasich says the expansion let him “bring 14 billion of our dollars home,” but it’s paid for with new federal deficit spending.

And the costs are only going to go up for the state. Five percent of benefit costs will fall to state taxpayers starting in 2017, with the state share increasing to 10 percent by 2020.

The Republican governor and presidential candidate’s $14 billion estimate for 2014-20 is nowhere near what his Medicaid expansion will actually cost state and federal taxpayers, based on the latest Ohio Department of Medicaid data.

Kasich’s Obamacare expansion cost an average of $391 million per month — more than $1.5 billion per quarter — during the past six months. At this rate, expansion will cost $14.1 billion by August 2017 and $27.5 billion by June 2020.

Revised cost projections for the 2016-17 state budget were optimistically low, too. With four months left in the 2016 fiscal year, Obamacare expansion has cost $2.5 billion — 9 percent more than lawmakers estimated last spring.

Propelled by Obamacare expansion, Ohio’s Medicaid program cost $1 billion more through February than at the same point in 2015, a 6.6 percent increase.

Contrary to Kasich’s campaign trail claims, Obamacare expansion makes anyone with income at or below 138 percent of the poverty line eligible for Medicaid, regardless of whether they have a job or need treatment for drug addiction or mental illness.

Before Obamacare, Medicaid coverage in Ohio was restricted to pregnant women, children, the elderly, the disabled, impoverished families, and women seeking tests or treatment for breast or cervical cancer.

Ohio receives federal money for 62 percent of traditional Medicaid costs. A much larger share of Obamacare expansion is federally funded, giving state lawmakers an incentive to cut services for the truly needy while putting working-age adults with no kids and no disabilities on welfare.

In addition to his administration’s pending eligibility changes for Ohioans with disabilities, last spring Kasich proposed cutting the income limit for pregnant women and the Breast and Cervical Cancer Project from 200 percent to 138 percent of poverty.

Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly rejected Kasich’s eligibility cuts for pregnant women and the BCCP.

The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment on Obamacare expansion costs.

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 jhart@watchdog.org