New federal health care law poses new Medicaid expenses for Ohio: editorial
The Cleveland Plain-Dealer (4/24) editorializes:
State officials are poring over the Obama administration’s 961-page health care package to estimate its effect on Ohio’s perennial budget-buster, Medicaid costs. The math is understandably complex, and Ohio’s tab isn’t yet known.
But this is: The two-bill measure may add about 550,000 Medicaid clients to Ohio’s caseload over the next few years. Such an increase would blimp Ohio’s current Medicaid caseload, about 2.1 million people, by more than 25 percent. The congressional measures will make an estimated 275,000 more Ohioans eligible for Medicaid.
. . .
Because the federal health care legislation also will boost public awareness of Medicaid eligibility in general, Ohio analysts estimate that about 279,000 Ohioans — already eligible for Medicaid, but for whatever reason not currently participants — may sign up. For those already eligible Ohioans, however, the federal share of Medicaid costs will be the same as it is now — 63.4 percent. That means Ohio’s budget will have to muster 37 cents for every $1 spent in patient costs.
This is what I and other ObamaCare opponents have been saying this all along. As I wrote in a blogpost titled Adverse Selection on Steroids:
[ObamaCare] massively expands access to Medicaid, another bankrupt entitlement program largely responsible for the financial crises in many states. Think about this. While the government is cutting Medicare (which our parents and grandparents PAID FOR), it is expanding Medicaid. In other words, it’s taking away health benefits from seniors who paid for them while providing care for those who didn’t.
Needless to say, this predicted Medicaid expansion will force state governments to increase healthcare spending at a time when state budgets are about to implode thanks to European-style retirement benefits. I likened this massive increase in government spending during a severe recession to a person facing bankruptcy splurging on a brand new Rolls Royce.
However, the Cleveland Plain-Dealer editorial reaches a startlingly different conclusion:
An ounce of prevention is indeed worth a pound of cure. That’s why it’s reasonable to believe that Medicaid expansion may, in the long run, make less steep the seemingly perpetual upward curve in Ohio’s Medicaid costs. Still, the expansion approved by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama presents yet another long-term challenge to an Ohio budget facing plenty of hurdles already.
Yes, and it’s equally reasonable to believe this Medicaid expansion will increase the state’s supply of rainbows and unicorns for Ohio’s children. Safe bet the Plain-Dealer editorial board writers are donkeys.