The state of Ohio participated in the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare much to the chagrin of Republican primary voters across the country who haven't exactly endorsed Governor John Kasich's presidential candidacy, but that doesn't mean Republicans in the state legislature have given up on trying toss the working poor overboard.
Under a new proposal pushed by state lawmakers, those who enroll in Medicaid would be forced to pay a premium on top of what they already pay in taxes.
The proposal, subject to federal approval, would require those being treated for breast and cervical cancer, teens coming out of foster care and other working-age, nondisabled adults on Medicaid to make monthly payments into a health-savings account to help cover their expenses beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
Nearly 3 million Ohioans are enrolled in Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled. About half would be subject to the new requirements which must be approved by federal regulators. Medicaid officials project an average of 130,000 beneficiaries would lose coverage each year of the five-year pilot.
Governor John Kasich suggested that the new premium should only be imposed on those with incomes above 100 percent of the federal poverty level, but Republicans in the state legislature did not agree. Not that I believe Kasich deserve praise for his suggestion. He doesn't. He should have rejected the entire proposal.
Republicans believe the state must take these steps to save money, but the federal government will still cover 95 percent of the cost of Medicaid expansion in 2017 and at least 90 percent of the cost in 2020 and beyond.
The cost of kicking this many people off their coverage would undoubtedly wipe out a significant portion of any potential savings that would be gained by denying them coverage. Sick people with no coverage tend to visit emergency rooms more often. There's also the loss of business and economic activity for the local healthcare industry in Ohio.
This is a very bad idea.