Monday, August 17, 2015

Ohio’s dependence on Medicaid is the worst in the Midwest

By Jason Hart

Thanks to Gov. John Kasich’s Obamacare expansion, Ohio has the highest rate of Medicaid enrollment in the Midwest.

One out of four Ohioans is enrolled in the welfare program Kasich — a Republican — expanded to cover working-age adults with no kids and no disabilities.

Ohio, Illinois and Michigan are the only Midwest states with more than 20 percent of their residents enrolled in Medicaid, a welfare program jointly funded by the federal government and the states.

Missouri, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa and Indiana each have between 15 percent and 20 percent of their residents enrolled in Medicaid, and Medicaid enrollment rates are between 10 percent and 15 percent in North Dakota, Nebraska, South Dakota and Kansas.

Since mid-2013, Ohio’s Medicaid enrollment has grown by almost 24 percent. Among the 12 states in the Midwest, only North Dakota’s Medicaid enrollment — which totaled 89,001 in May – grew at a faster rate.

Ohio Watchdog compared state enrollment rates using the latest data from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the U.S. Census Bureau. Figures from the Ohio Department of Medicaid are even worse.

Ohio had 2.33 million people on its Medicaid rolls in December 2013, the month before Kasich’s Obamacare expansion took effect. Within 18 months, 3 million Ohioans were on Medicaid.

In July, enrollment in Kasich’s Obamacare expansion was 609,030 — 66 percent greater than Kasich expected.

Kasich’s Obamacare expansion cost federal taxpayers $4 billion in its first 18 months, instead of the $2.5 billion projected.

Obamacare expansion would have sunk Ohio’s entire Medicaid budget last year, but the Kasich administration overestimated new enrollment from Ohioans already eligible for Medicaid.

The Kasich administration was wrong about Obamacare expansion enrollment and wrong about “woodwork effect” enrollment from the previously eligible — but the wildly inaccurate projections offset one another.

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