Medicaid-Promoting Media: The Columbus Dispatch

The Columbus Dispatch editorial board has strongly supported expanding Medicaid in Ohio, citing a flawed Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) study in a January 23 endorsement and cheering Governor John Kasich’s decision to pursue the expansion in a February 10 column.

The Dispatch endorsement of Medicaid expansion, which was subtitled, “Widening eligibility would help hospitals, cover more of the uninsured,” lavished praise on the Kasich administration but expressed no concern over the national debt or the federal government’s ability to shoulder billions per year in increased spending.

“With people such as Ohio Medicaid director John McCarthy and Greg Moody, director of the Office of Health Transformation, Kasich has assembled a richly talented, creative and practical health-care-policy team far exceeding that of his predecessor,” the Dispatch editors concluded. “They know how to provide better health-care services to more Ohioans while respecting and often improving the bottom line. If Kasich and his team decide an expansion makes sense, Ohioans can trust that it would be a sound, well-considered plan built for the long term.”

After Governor Kasich, a Republican, included the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion in his budget plan released February 4, the Dispatch editorial board was practically giddy.

“In pursuing an expansion of Medicaid under the federal health-care overhaul, Gov. John Kasich wisely is putting pragmatism before party and ideology,” the editors wrote in the opening sentence of a February 10 column titled, “Kasich’s Medicaid plan makes sense.”

The editors continued, “Kasich has made his opposition to the Affordable Care Act plain, but he understands that it is now a fact of life. Any responsible leader also can see that the terms of the expansion will benefit Ohio.”

Still betraying no shred of concern about America’s $16.7 trillion national debt, the Dispatch editors wagged a rhetorical finger at opponents of the PPACA Medicaid expansion.

“Such purists generally aren’t responsible for the economic well-being of entire states,” they wrote. “They tend not to be elected to high office, because most voters prefer politicians interested in solving problems in the world as it exists, not as they believe it should be.”

“Kasich also can be commended for spearheading an effort by Republican governors to negotiate with the White House on making the terms of the Medicaid expansion more flexible,” the Dispatch editorial board added – as if a White House that has overseen routine $1 trillion annual deficits can be trusted to make sustainable fiscal decisions.

The Dispatch editors concluded, “That’s the sort of common-sense problem solving Americans are hungry for.”

The editorial board’s support for deeper deficits and bigger government by way of the PPACA Medicaid expansion has been accompanied by Dispatch Senior Editor Joe Hallett’s ridicule of groups opposing Kasich on the issue.

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