Jason Hart of Watchdog.org keeps up his important coverage of Obamacare Medicaid expansion. He reports Ohio Medicaid’s September case load report shows that expansion enrollment has reached 401,307 – far outpacing the Kasich administration’s low-ball projections of 366,000 by July 2015.

What does that mean in dollars in cents?  Ohio’s Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee, which has been charged with the task of “bending the cost curve down” on Medicaid, put out estimates of costs per member month. Hart writes,

“Based on an Oct. 16 Ohio Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee estimate pegging costs per member per month at $630 for the 2015 fiscal year, Ohio’s Obamacare expansion ran $63.7 million over budget from July to September. Obamacare expansion in Ohio cost more than $250 million in September alone, and has set federal taxpayers back $1.7 billion since January.” (Emphasis added.)

During the Medicaid expansion debate, Governor Kasich tried to separate federal taxpayers from Ohio taxpayers attempting to paint the picture that Medicaid expansion represented free money to Ohio that would go to other states if Ohio did not seize it. Well, as Hart points out, that attitude has led to a $1.7 billion increase in federal spending making a federal balanced budget – a priority Kasich claims to have – all the more difficult to achieve.

But there are even more important considerations to Kasich’s irresponsible advancement of Medicaid expansion – life-altering considerations associated with Ohio’s most vulnerable who are even more at risk now that Kasich has expanded Medicaid in Ohio far beyond its original purpose.

Hart notes, “Prior to the Obamacare expansion, Medicaid was restricted to the elderly, physically disabled, pregnant women, children and low-income parents.”  Now with Obamacare, Medicaid has been expanded to able bodied adults without dependent children.

Jonathan Ingram of the Foundation for Government Accountability explains in Hart’s piece the repercussions of such a rash move,

“Ohio’s ObamaCare expansion continues to run over budget, which will ultimately put Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens at risk. When it comes time to pay for those cost overruns and the state’s share of ObamaCare costs, who will Gov. Kasich put on the chopping block first?”

These vulnerable Ohioans are already starting to feel the effects of the chopping block. There are rumblings at the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities (DODD) to move the most severely developmentally disabled out of vital intermediate care facilities which safely and compassionately provide skilled nursing and personal care to Ohioans who are profoundly intellectually disabled and are functionally unable to care for themselves. These care facilities also work to ensure severely developmentally disabled Ohioans live full lives by providing daily transportation to school and adaptive employment and by taking them on recreational outings in the community.

There is talk within DODD to close the Medicaid funded adaptive employment settings as well which offer an important opportunity for the intellectually disabled to develop skills and interact with others.

These vital support systems which took decades to put in place by compassionate and responsible Ohioans are now being threatened by the actions of the very administration that claims to help the most vulnerable.

And don’t forget, Governor Kasich’s Medicaid expansion proposal came with a reduction in Medicaid reimbursements to children’s hospitals.  More cuts to the truly vulnerable.

As Governor Kasich stumps around Ohio proudly proclaiming he has helped the less fortunate with his Medicaid expansion, he needs to be asked if developmentally disabled citizens and poor children matter too. Given the size of the voting block, the answer may just be, “No.”