Ohio Medicaid Numbers Questioned

Thursday, 25 Oct 2012 11:54 AM

By Sandy Fitzgerald

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Ohio officials say the state will have to absorb a billion dollar hit when new Medicaid clients sign on after Obamacare goes into full effect in 2014, but critics complain the state’s numbers are overblown.
Ohio expects to add 400,000 people to the Medicaid program, which already serves 2.4 million. Officials in Republican Gov. John Kasich's administration estimate the cost at least $940 million for 2014 and 2015, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
But those figures, the newspaper reported, are high when compared to the neighboring states of Indiana and Michigan, where officials estimate that additional enrollments to Medicaid will be vastly less than what Ohio claims.
The Kasich administration insists that more people will be pushed into Medicaid because Obamacare calls for individuals to pay a penalty if they don't sign up for some kind of health insurance. In addition, state officials worry that some people may turn to Medicaid if their  employers drop coverage because of higher costs.
However, national healthcare experts say Ohio’s “take-up” estimate new sign up rates are still too high, and Democrats are accusing the Kasich administration of playing politics with the Medicaid numbers.
They say the governor is trying to use his "imaginary" Medicaid increase as an excuse not to spend any of the state's $500 million rainy day fund on programs now.

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