Arguments for Ohio Medicaid Expansion Full of Holes

Governor Kasich and his acolytes are eager to implement the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Ohio, as OCR readers are no doubt aware. What you may not realize is how many arguments against expansion have been ignored by the Kasich Administration, the Ohio Republican Party, and the state’s legacy media.

OCR contributors have already done a good job detailing philosophical arguments against Medicaid expansion, but since I’ve been covering the issue for the past year I wanted to help summarize the opposing facts.

While there’s no coherent argument for expanding Medicaid, there are many contenders for “most embarrassing talking point.”

Two examples include the governor’s assurance that Obamacare Medicaid expansion has nothing to do with Obamacare, and the Columbus Dispatch-approved narrative that adding hundreds of thousands of Ohioans to the Medicaid rolls will save taxpayers money.

This is the sort of nonsense that Party faithful are chastising and ridiculing conservatives for speaking out against. Why are they so desperate to silence criticism from the right?

Perhaps it’s because the arguments for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion are full of holes.  Let’s examine three of them up close.

Kasich Talking Point: Obamacare Medicaid expansion will make poor Ohioans healthier

Governor Kasich and other Obamacare advocates insist that expanding Medicaid will help Ohio’s poor by providing them access to better health care. This claim is typically made as a blanket assertion that “Medicaid coverage” means “quality health care,” with no supporting evidence save assurances from Kasich that God wants the General Assembly to spend more taxpayer money.

The truth?

In short, the Obamacare Medicaid expansion would push hundreds of thousands of able-bodied childless adults under the age of 65 into a government program whose results are already mixed at best.

Kasich Talking Point: Obamacare Medicaid expansion will help Ohio hospitals and boost Ohio’s economy

The Kasich Administration and hospital lobbyists paint a picture of two future Ohios. In one Ohio, the state adopts the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and billions of job-creating federal dollars rain down from the sky; in the other, the state’s failure to expand Medicaid stifles the economy and sends hospitals around the state into bankruptcy.

How do these portrayals compare to reality?

Simply put, Kasich is telling a tale of two Ohios which dramatically inflates the benefits of expanding Medicaid while downplaying the Obamacare expansion’s many flaws.

Kasich Talking Point: “Ohio’s” Obamacare funding will be spent elsewhere if Ohio rejects Medicaid expansion

From the day he introduced his budget plan for fiscal years 2014-2015, Gov. Kasich has been arguing that implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion would prevent “leaving Ohioans’ federal tax dollars on the table,” (02/04/2013 budget summary) and stop DC from taking “$13 billion of Ohioans’ federal tax dollars out of our state” (02/06/2013 RedState post).

This is an obviously untrue line of argument that Ohio news reporters have nonetheless repeated time and again without question.

All Obamacare funding for states that expand Medicaid will be new federal spending. Gov. Kasich’s narrative about “Ohio’s” money is false – especially when he attempts to strengthen his case by painting the entire $13 billion in projected expansion funding as “Ohio’s tax dollars.”

Conclusion

There is no convincing evidence that Medicaid expansion will make poor Ohioans healthier, provoke an economic boom while preventing a bust, or keep “Ohio’s” money in Ohio.

To the contrary, each of Governor Kasich’s talking points for the Obamacare Medicaid expansion have been thoroughly debunked by a combination of public record and expert testimony.

jhart-300x450Jason Hart is a lifelong Ohioan and a 2005 graduate of Miami University. Communications director for a small conservative news outlet, Jason resides in central Ohio and is an occasional contributor at FreedomWorks, RedState, WatchdogWire, Rare, and elsewhere. You can find Jason on Twitter @jasonahart

A previous version of this article was published by Media Trackers at this link.

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

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