Is Medicaid Expansion a Legal Trap for Ohioans?

As the Ohio General Assembly crafts budget legislation to be passed no later than June 30, the most critical question dividing Republicans is whether to expand Medicaid.  Unfortunately, proponents–including Governor John Kasich–fail to see Medicaid expansion as the trap it would likely grow into.

Medicaid is a federal health care program, administered at the state level, that pays for medical services for people who meet permitted income and situational (e.g., pregnancy) circumstances. Today, it covers almost everyone below the age of 65 with incomes below a federally-established income cap. The primary exception is that it does not cover single, work-able adults, aged 18-65.

Medicaid expansion, a part of the Affordable Care Act known as “Obamacare,” would remove this exception. With this removal, essentially everyone under the income cap–even able-bodied singles–would have universal federal/state paid health care. Income alone would be the “test” of whether someone was in Medicaid or not. Stated another way, only by having “too much” income could you be exempted from Medicaid.

The circumstances placing the decision to expand Medicaid with the states was a consequence of the U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the constitutionality of Obamacare. The Supreme Court ruled that a federal mandate to simply have states expand coverage was unconstitutional. Consequently, Ohio must decide.

Governor John Kasich proposed to have Ohio adopt this expansion via the state’s budget legislation now being considered.  Proponents argue that Ohio cannot afford to miss out on federal funds attached to expansion.  [Read on OCR: “Cherry-Picking Obamacare: Why Politicians Cannot Sever the Medicaid Expansion from ACA”]

But here’s the trap.

Assume Medicaid Expansion is adopted in Ohio. The income cap becomes the only thing that determines whether individuals or families are part of Medicaid—regardless of personal wishes. Currently the income cap threshold is set by the federal government at 138% of the Federal Poverty Level (FPL). It’s an arbitrary value.  This income limit could be raised or entirely dropped by federal legislation, federal regulation, or a court decision by a politically-active judge–perhaps a judge in another state. If this happens, then all Ohioans aged 18-65 would become Medicaid participants. Your personal and family medical health care, regardless of income or wishes, would be entirely controlled by the federal government.

If Ohio adopts Medicaid Expansion, then the heath care insurance fate of all Ohioans is entirely out of our state control, despite Ohioans having recently voted overwhelmingly to avoid exactly that by amending our Ohio constitution to minimize the impact of Obamacare.  It’s my belief that the entire thrust of Obamacare was to change Medicaid into universal health care by, first, making income the only discriminator, and then removing the income limit to make it apply to everyone involuntarily. Indeed, it is likely that this was the intended simple “solution” to the chaos that many Americans knew Obamacare would become.

Coerced, single-payer health care, entirely under the control of a federal bureaucracy, appears to have been a fundamental goal of the authors of Obamacare. Many have said such publicly. Former U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi “warned” that we needed to carefully read the legislation to know what it was all about. A trap was set to ensnarl all Ohioans into a universal health care program at the sacrifice of our liberty and ability to control our personal and family’s health care. The U.S. Supreme Court decision gave Ohioans the ability to avoid this trap by not adopting Medicaid Expansion in any form. No “financial benefit” or compassion argument overcomes this clear threat to the health care liberty of Ohioans should Republicans unwisely adopt Medicaid Expansion.

[Read more on OCR about Medicaid Expansion: “Ohio Medicaid Expansion Tied to Anti-Life Policies,” and “Kasich, Portman Should Brace for Consequences”]

Mike Snead is a professional engineer focusing on spacefaring technology advancement and American and Ohio energy security. Currently, he is the president of the Beavercreek Liberty Group, a chapter of the Dayton Tea Party. His focus is to strengthen conservative Ohio voter participation, particularly in Greene County and Southwestern Ohio, in the upcoming 2014 and 2016 elections.


Michael Hamilton contributed to this article.


All opinions expressed belong solely to their authors and may not be construed as the opinions of other writers or of OCR staff.