Ohio’s Republican Governor Says Yes to Medicaid

“Better health. Better care. Better, more efficient use of taxpayer dollars. All are reasons why Medicaid expansion is right for Ohio,” read the tweet from Ohio’s Office of Medical Assistance as Ohio Governor John Kasich became the 5th Republican Governor to say “yes” to Medicaid option – a decision that may have ripple effects in other states considering their options.

Kasich, a former Budget Committee Chairman in the U.S House of Representatives, seems to have done his homework and realized the ACA Medicaid option was too good of a deal to pass up.   Here’s an excerpt from Governor Kasich’s budget transmittal letter:

“While a complex decision, this reform not only helps improve the health of vulnerable Ohioans and frees up local funds for better mental health and addiction services, but it also helps prevent increases to health care premiums and potentially devastating impacts to local hospitals.  Additionally, it avoids leaving Ohioans’ federal tax dollars on the table and keeps the federal government from simply giving them away to other states.”

Given Governor Kasich’s history as a leading spokesperson for Republicans on budget issues when he was in Congress, as well as a colleague of House Speaker Boehner also from Ohio, this fiscal assessment should carry significant weight with those still equivocating.  And given that the main argument against expanding Medicaid at this point seems to be that the federal government is an unreliable partner, it is notable that the Governor has come out to take the lead on this.

According to research by the Urban Institute, if the Ohio Legislature goes along with the Governor’s plan for Ohio Medicaid expansion, there will be approximately 457,000 fewer uninsured Ohioans by 2022.

Joan Alker
Joan Alker is the Executive Director of the Center for Children and Families