Kasich Defends Medicaid Expansion
Updated: Tuesday, February 5 2013, 11:26 PM EST
COLUMBUS — For Governor John Kasich, (R)-Ohio, pitching his new two-year state budget will mean convincing statehouse Republicans of the economic benefits of a provision of Obamacare that they appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court to avoid.
“It’s going to weigh on legislators’ minds that they sued the federal government to be given the option and not participate in the expansion,” predicted Robert Alt, president of The Buckeye Institute, a conservative Columbus think tank.
In June, justices ruled that states could choose to opt out of the Medicaid expansion part of the Affordable Care Act.
Kasich explained Monday he would accept $2.4 million in federal funds to expand the program for economic reasons.
“This is not an endorsement of Obamacare,” Kasich insisted.
The governor said that by accepting the expansion Ohio would create jobs, avoid a “financial mess” for hospitals, and expand programs for the mentally ill.
The administration thinks 365,000 more adults will be eligible for coverage.
Advocates at Voices for Ohio’s Children say expanding Medicaid for hundreds of grown-ups could make kids healthier, but that’s just part of their case in favor of accepting the money.
“It’s projected that the expansion could bring 37,000 jobs to Ohio,” said interim CEO Sandy Oxley. “It’s really hard to argue when you’re looking at a state that’s focused on jobs issues not to support any effort that will bring that many jobs to our state,” she added.
Alt argues that continuing negotiations over the federal debt makes Washington an unreliable partner in an endeavor that obliges Ohio to spend billions of dollars.
“It ends up obligating Ohio in the long-term and that’s not good for the state,” he said.
Kasich has outline a $63.1 billion two-year budget that includes income tax cuts for small businesses and individuals, a reduction in the state sales tax, and new taxes on services.
Reporter: Dana Jay
Web Producer: Kellie Hanna