Ohio Governor Kasich Joins Medicaid Expansion Proponents

Ohio Governor Kasich announced that he would include expansion of Medicaid as allowed under the Affordable Care Act in his 2014-2015 budget proposal released today.

On his website the following summary is provided:

“The Governor has weighed the options and has chosen the path that is best for Ohio. The Executive budget extends Medicaid coverage to low-income adults up to 138 percent of poverty. The federal government will pay 100 percent of this cost for three years, decreasing to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond. If the federal government changes this agreement then Ohio will automatically reverse this decision. The Executive budget also requires greater personal responsibility from everyone on the Medicaid program and launches new programs to fight fraud and abuse.”

The Governor projects savings of $235 million to the state in the 2014-2015 budget period and another $130 million savings to counties.

Gov. Kasich, like Gov. Brewer in Arizona and Gov. Nixon in Missouri, called for a trigger to be established in law that allows Ohio to scale back Medicaid eligibility if the federal government does not continue Medicaid matching rates at the 90-10 ratio promised to states in the Affordable Care Act.

Just last week, Obama administration official Gene Sperling told health advocates at a Families USA meeting that it has decided to take all Medicaid cuts off the table, even if it puts more pressure on Medicare spending.

“We have come to believe that it is not the time to make even those savings. Not when this is the critical moment in implementing the Affordable Care Act.” Sperling said that governors who accept the expansion “should do so with the understanding that the rug will not be pulled out from them,” according to The Hill.com.