Kasich Mum on Medicaid Expansion

Despite a study that shows Medicaid expansion in the three states improved coverage, access to care and self-reported health, Gov. John Kasich has said he will wait on his decision to expand Medicaid in Ohio.

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new study by Harvard researchers found that a 2001 and 2002 expansion of Medicaid coverage in Arizona, New York and Maine might have saved lives. The study also concluded that the Medicaid expansion in the three states improved coverage, access to care and self-reported health.

The study found that mortality rates in the three states were collectively 6.1 percent lower than states that did not expand Medicaid. The decreased mortality rate mostly benefited older adults, nonwhites and residents of poor counties.

Earlier this year, results for the ongoing Oregon Health Study were released with more positive implications for people on Medicaid — happier people, better self-reported health and stronger financial security.

Despite the evidence, Gov. John Kasich has said he will wait on his decision to expand Medicaid. As part of the Affordable Care Act — also known as “Obamacare” — states are being asked to expand their Medicaid coverage to a new federal standard of 133 percent of the poverty line. The federal government would completely fund the expansion between 2014 and 2016. Afterward, states would have to pick up 10 percent of the cost, and the federal government will pay the rest.

Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor have said the expansion, which state officials estimate would add 400,000 Ohioans to Medicaid enrollment, is too expensive for the state. But some research has suggested that the Medicaid expansion would actually save states money by mitigating the cost of having so many uninsured people. 

Ohio is not the only state to show skepticism toward the Medicaid expansion. After the Supreme Court released its decision upholding Obamacare, state officials in Texas and Florida said they will not take part in the Medicaid expansion. State governments have until Nov. 10 to make a final decision on whether or not they will take part in the Medicaid expansion.

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