John Kasich Signing the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment Petition (Oct. 2010)

Many concerned Ohioans have contacted Governor Kasich to express their outrage and opposition to his proposal to expand Medicaid in Ohio.  Governor Kasich’s people have crafted a smoothly worded response that deserves clarification.  Below, please find information that will help you decipher the truth.

Kasich Letter:

Obamacare is not the path any of us would have chosen, however the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold it and the President’s reelection mean that it is, for now, the law of the land.  My job as Governor is to limit its harm.”  

Reality:  The Ohio Liberty Coalition rejects the notion that implementing Obamacare reduces the impact of Obamacare.  Such a proposition is nonsensical.  Medicaid expansion is the implementation of Obamacare in Ohio and a primary means by which the Obama administration chooses to further their goal of universal government run health care.

Kasich Letter: 

“I said no to Obamacare’s takeover of our state’s insurance regulations and no to Obamacare’s takeover of our Medicaid eligibility system as well.  None of those things were good for Ohio and saying no to them are helping limit Obamacare’s impact on my state.”

Reality:  Kasich’s Medicaid expansion proposal follows the guidelines of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  Ohio’s previous Medicaid eligibility requirements will be thrown out and new requirements based on the PPACA will replace them.

Kasich Letter:

“Now I’ve proposed extending Medicaid health coverage to low-income and working poor Ohioans, in part, to limit further damage from Obamacare.  Without this move Obamacare is likely to increase health insurance premiums even higher in Ohio.”

Reality:  In March 2013, the Society of Actuaries released a study projecting the per claim cost of health care claims in Ohio will increase 80.9% assuming the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio.  In June 2013, the Ohio Department of Insurance issued a press release concurring with this study.  Based on insurance proposals received by the Department for the upcoming federal Obamacare exchange, the Department projects the cost to cover health care expenses for consumers will increase 88% in Ohio.  Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will not keep premiums down.  It will explode them.

Higher premiums make it difficult for employers to provide health insurance to their employees.  More and more people will lose their insurance as employers and individuals simply cannot afford to purchase it anymore.

And, Medicaid expansion will make it easier for companies to cease offering health care to their lower wage employees as there will be a low cost alternative available.  This means more Ohioans left out of the superior private health care system and more Ohioans on a broken entitlement.

Regardless of expansion’s effects on the health care market, Medicaid is a broken system that does not offer quality care to the poor.  Studies show that Medicaid patients often have worse medical results than even the uninsured.  And, 28% of office-based doctors refuse to accept Medicaid patients.

Kasich Letter:

“Worse, it [not extending Medicaid] takes $13 billion of Ohioans’ federal tax dollars out of our state and gives it to other states—where it will go to work helping to rev up some other state’s economy instead of Ohio’s.”

Reality:  Governor Kasich’s claim that Medicaid expansion will keep Ohio tax dollars from going to other states is false.  If Ohio makes the responsible choice and says no to expansion, there is no money earmarked for Ohio at the federal level that will then be redirected to other states.  The federal government will have less money that it is authorized to spend on Medicaid, and with a federal government $16.8 trillion in debt, that is a good outcome for taxpayers.

Furthermore, counting on our bankrupt federal government to fulfill its promise to cover 100% of the cost of expansion for three years, declining to 90% thereafter, is a fantasy. Basing public policy on such a notion is irresponsible.

Kasich Letter:

When I chaired the U.S. House of Representatives’ Budget Committee I led the effort to balance the federal budget for the first time since men walked on the moon.  I left Washington in 1999 and the federal budget has never been balanced since…I am a passionate budget hawk and proud of it.”

Reality:  Governor Kasich, has morphed from a budget hawk to a budget buster.  In March 2013, the U.S. House, led by Rep. Paul Ryan, passed a balanced budget.  The single largest cut in the Ryan’s budget was removal of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, over $800 billion dollars across all states.  Ohioans thought they got a fiscal conservative when Kasich was elected.  Instead, they got a big government proponent willing to turn his back on his Republican colleagues in Washington who are trying to stop Obamacare and put our country back on a responsible fiscal track.  Ohio has been betrayed by Governor Kasich and so have those in Washington working to balance the federal budget for the second time since men walked on the moon.

Kasich Letter:

“I’m not about to let Obamacare derail us.  I’m going to keep doing whatever I can to limit, reduce, curtail and contain its impact —even if it means having to think outside of the box to do it.”

Reality:  Kasich is not limiting, reducing, curtailing and containing Obamacare with Medicaid expansion.  He is willfully allowing its tentacles to become firmly established in our state, sucking the life out of our economy and destroying our private health care system in the process.  Furthermore, there is no thinking outside of the box with Kasich’s expansion proposal.  His proposal follows the letter of the Medicaid mandate as put forth in Obamacare, the compulsory imposition of which was deemed unconstitutional by the US Supreme Court, the one victory achieved by the 26 attorney generals who sued the federal government to gain relief from this oppressive legislation.

“Fact” Sheet Included with Kasich Letter

Kasich “Fact” #1:

“Helping Ohio Compete on Jobs:  Giving many low-income Ohioans who work or who are looking for work access to health care coverage keeps $13 billion of Ohioans’ federal tax dollars in Ohio over the next seven years where it will help keep Ohioans healthy, in the workforce and contributing to Ohio’s economic recovery.”

Reality:  As we have seen with the federal stimulus, taking billions out of the private sector slows the economy and burdens taxpayers.  The growth of a federal entitlement is a job killer which has destructive ramifications for Ohio well into the future.  The idea that Ohio’s tax dollars will be used in other states is shamefully false.  If Ohio does the right thing and turns down Medicaid expansion, those dollars are not transferred to other states.  Those are dollars that the federal government is not authorized to spend, and with a $16.8 trillion federal debt, this is a positive result for taxpayers

Kasich “Fact” #2:

“Holding the Line on Premium Increases:  Medicaid coverage for low income Ohioans reduces the amount of uncompensated care costs that are transferred onto the private market in the form of higher insurance premiums.”

Reality:  Kasich claims Medicaid expansion will prevent increases in insurance premiums, but experience has shown otherwise.  A Foundation for Government Accountability report of two Medicaid expansions in Arizona and Maine reveals that charity care went up under expansion and so did cost shifting to the insured, leading to higher insurance premiums for everyone.

Kasich “Fact” #3:

“Guards Against Federal Changes:  Ohio’s Medicaid plan would automatically reset to current levels if Washington changes the deal.  This protects Ohio taxpayers from being left with higher costs if Washington breaks its promises.”

Reality:  Governor Kasich’s need to insert a reset mechanism into his Medicaid expansion proposal indicates his lack of confidence in the federal government’s ability to meet its funding pledge.  What’s more, for a governor who questions the charitable spirit of his expansion foes, a reset mechanism is a cruel answer to Ohio’s poor temporarily offered the false promise of government health care.  If our governor and representatives cannot demonstrate the fiscal leadership now to turn down the imaginary money from Washington, why would we believe they would ever have the will to do so in the future when even more Ohioans are dependent on Medicaid?  Can you imagine the public reaction if the governor and state assembly attempted to roll back an expanded Medicaid program?

Kasich “Fact” #4:

“Protects Hospitals:  Extending Medicaid benefits will ensure that hospitals receive payments for all of the services they provide, protecting rural and safety-net hospitals from being pushed to the brink.”

Reality:  In their budget proposal for 2014, the Obama administration proposed to rescind cuts to hospital reimbursements for charity care signaling that Obamacare’s promise of reducing the number of uninsured was an empty one and that hospitals will continue to be compensated for the care of the uninsured.

One has to wonder how much of the Obamacare/Medicaid expansion money would end up in the pockets of health care executives receiving million dollar salaries.  The Dayton Daily News reports that Dayton-area non profit hospital executives have salaries exceeding $1 million.  Add in healthcare and retirement benefits and many hospital executives net multi-million dollar compensation packages.  Which begs the question, how many uninsured could a hospital executive cover?

Kasich “Fact” #5:

“Protects Businesses:  Providing Medicaid coverage to more low-income, working Ohioans can spare employers job-killing financial penalties.”

Reality:  If the Kasich administration is concerned about business, then how about protecting Ohio’s businesses from the IRS’ illegal enforcement of the Obamacare mandates through fines.  The PPACA only allows for employer mandates in states which set up a state-run exchange.  The law does not authorize the IRS to enforce mandates in states like Ohio which refused to run their own exchange.  The IRS’ abuse of power has not gone unnoticed.  The State of Oklahoma has filed suit on this issue.  The Kasich administration should join with Oklahoma if it is serious about shielding Ohio’s businesses from Obamacare.  Don’t hold your breath.  The Kasich administration needs the IRS‘ illegal enforcement to get the Chamber of Commerce and other business groups onto the Medicaid expansion bandwagon.

Don’t be fooled by smooth words, half truths and outright falsehoods.  Contact your state representative and state senator, and let them know that you oppose Obamacare’s implementation in Ohio through Medicaid expansion.  If Kasich won’t protect Ohio from Obamacare, Statehouse Republicans must.

Further Reading: