Ohio State Treasurer sent a letter on Monday to Ohio house speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Keith Faber urging them to “reject an expansion of Medicaid in Ohio.” Mandel has been a strong opponent of Obamacare, publicly speaking out against at many gatherings and events before and after his candidacy for treasurer. We praise Mandel for taking a stand on the issue and re-introducing some fiscal conservatism into the Medicaid conversation, which seems to be lost on others in our state government who only seem to be looking as far forward as their next election rather than what the Medicaid expansion will do to future generations. Below is the text of Mandel’s letter, and you can view a PDF of the original letter here.
Please take a moment to write a thank you letter to Josh Mandel.
February 11, 2013
Honorable William Batchelder
Honorable Keith Faber
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, Ohio 43215
Dear Speaker Batchelder and President Faber,
As Treasurer of Ohio, I am charged as the state’s chief fiscal officer with the duty of overseeing the collection, disbursement and safekeeping of public funds. Simply put, I act as a fiscal watchdog of Ohioans’ hard-earned tax dollars. It is with my fiscal duties in mind that I write today and urge you to prudently consider the long-term financial implications of voluntarily implementing the Medicaid expansion in Ohio and to reject this expansion during the budget process.
Though the federal government is promising to pay for most of the expansion in the near term, it is currently borrowing approximately 40 cens of every dollar is spends. I am concerned that expanding Medicaid in Ohio will overwhelm an already broken system and place an unbearable burden on generations of Ohioans.
I appreciate that you are being forced to choose between two undesirable options – because the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) was designed this way. Voting against the Medicaid expansion means that Ohio would receive less federal funding. Voting for the Medicaid expansion would, as I have described, burden current and future generations of Ohioans with even more federal debt and eventually increase the state’s funding of Medicaid. While the proposed “opt-out” trigger is a well-intentioned safeguard to retract Medicaid’s expansion if the federal government reduces its funding share, I am concerned whether such a safeguard would be honored in the future, because history has shown that once a government benefit is given it is rarely taken away.
There is no free money. While expanding Medicaid may direct more federal dollars to Ohio in the next few years, in the long term Ohioans will have to repay the debt that is funding the federal government spending. The federal government has an approximate $16.4 trillion national debt, and entitlement spending alone is projected to consume all revenue by 2045. If Ohio’s leaders take the bait today, I fear that generations of Ohio taxpayers will be on the hook for the long-term costs of expanding Medicaid.
As Ohioans, we share a common fate with all Americans. Whether taxes by the state or federal government, the Ohio taxpayers will inevitably shoulder the costs of a debt-funded Medicaid expansion. For these reasons, I urge you to reject an expansion of Medicaid in Ohio.
State Treasurer of Ohio
cc: Governor John Kasich
Members of the Ohio General Assembly
Mandel: Don’t expand Medicaid | Columbus Dispatch
Treasurer Josh Mandel urges lawmakers to reject Kasich’s recommendation to expand Medicaid | Cleveland Plain Dealer