images-1Ohioans have heard a great deal from Governor Kasich about the need to expand Medicaid to Ohio’s low income adults.  While Kasich waxed eloquent on the topic, he failed to mention that doing so would mean cutting funding to Ohio’s children, those 1.2 million poor and disabled children on Medicaid.

The Akron Beacon Journal reports that Ohio’s six pediatric hospitals may now suffer Medicaid payment reductions that were built into Governor Kasich’s original Medicaid expansion proposal. Pediatric hospitals had dodged this bullet when the Ohio Assembly threw out Kasich’s expansion plans in June, but now that the Controlling Board has approved Medicaid expansion, the pediatric hospital Medicaid cuts are back on the table.  The cuts call for a 5% reduction in inpatient reimbursement rates amounting to $35.4 million across all children’s facilities affected.

Kasich’s Medicaid payment reductions to children’s hospitals reveal the dishonest nature of his Medicaid expansion proposal.  Governor Kasich sold his expansion proposal to the public as a program that would be covered by federal tax dollars.  Kasich told Ohioans time and time again that by expanding Medicaid he would bring Ohio tax dollars back to Ohio.  But if Kasich’s Medicaid expansion is fully funded, why is it necessary for Ohio Medicaid to cut payments to current recipients?  The truth is, nothing in life is free and all economic decisions require choices.

Governor Kasich may try to chalk this unfortunate situation up to the law of unintended consequences, but since the cuts were spelled out in Kasich’s original budget proposal, they are hardly unintended.

It is difficult to understand the reasoning of a man who claims his faith led him to high office to help others when that same man takes from children whom life has left truly helpless to give to those whose need  is based on an ever-shifting federal income formula.  Given the same set of circumstances, most people of faith would find a better way to help Ohio’s low income, abled bodied adults without harming innocent children.

In June, the OLC expressed concern over Ohio’s ability to fully fund the medical care of Medicaid’s current participants while expanding the program beyond its original purpose.  In an economy governed by scarcity, there’s only so much money to go around.  Expanding a welfare program beyond society’s ability to fund it inevitably ends up harming those people for whom the program was originally established.

Who knows what calculations induced Kasich to cut Medicaid funding for Ohio’s poor and disabled children in order to expand eligibility for able bodied adults.  But there’s one point no one can deny, poor and disabled children don’t vote.