Low Information Newspapers Cheer for Medicaid Expansion

Editors at The Columbus Dispatch, Cleveland Plain Dealer, Akron Beacon Journal, Toledo Blade, and Cincinnati Enquirer have employed similarly flawed logic in supporting Governor John Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid. Every Ohio newspaper endorsement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion has resembled a low information voter’s response to a 30-second TV spot that swayed him to vote with no further research.

Rather than ask any critical questions, Ohio editorial boards have talked up the PPACA Medicaid expansion – which would be funded with billions in new spending from a federal government more than $16.7 trillion in debt – by repeating four basic Kasich administration talking points.

Medicaid Expansion is Compassionate

  •  “They [the Kasich administration] know how to provide better health-care services to more Ohioans while respecting and often improving the bottom line.” Dispatch, 01/23/2013
  • “The challenge now is to make that fact work best for the most Ohioans, and for those who doctor and nurse them. That’s best accomplished through Medicaid expansion.” Plain Dealer, 01/26/2013
  • “But as he, presumably, prepares to run for a second term, Kasich offers some very smart, humane ideas that will both improve the lot of workaday Ohioans and make it harder for Democratic critics to caricature him.” Plain Dealer, 02/05/2013
  • “The speech to a nearly full 1,800-seat hall in Lima (in a county that gave Kasich 58 percent of its vote) suggested Medicaid expansion isn’t just a matter of compassion.” Plain Dealer, 02/20/2013
  • “An independent analysis of likely effects released last week presents solid grounds for expanding the health program for poor Ohioans.” Beacon Journal, 01/19/2013
  • “Expanding Medicaid would reduce the number of the uninsured by close to 1 million, affording them the health benefits easier access to care bring.” Beacon Journal, 01/19/2013
  • “Kasich disavows the Affordable Care Act at every turn — which is fine if that’s what it takes to provide the coverage low-income Ohioans need.” Beacon Journal, 02/05/2013
  • “Mr. Kasich’s skeptical political side asks whether Washington will keep its promise to pay for expanding Medicaid in Ohio. But his pragmatic business side should not pass up billions of federal dollars and a healthier Ohio.” Blade, 01/21/2013
  • “Hundreds of thousands of people, many of them with jobs but without health insurance, would be covered. Their access to primary care doctors would be improved and they are likely to be healthier.” Enquirer, 02/03/2013
  • “One of the hallmarks of a great society is caring for the less fortunate. Expanding Medicaid can improve the lives of nearly a million people in Ohio and Kentucky alone and do it in a way that doesn’t damage state budgets.” Enquirer, 02/03/2013

Medicaid Expansion Will Help Ohio’s Economy

  • “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.” Dispatch, 01/23/2013
  • “A diverse Cleveland coalition of hospital officials, pastors and community health specialists pushing the expansion of Ohio’s Medicaid program marshals powerful arguments that boil down to common sense, equity and continued economic progress in Ohio.” Plain Dealer, 01/26/2013
  • “Kasich’s two-year spending plan for Ohio is both bold and pragmatic — and without the grim austerity that characterized his first budget.” Plain Dealer, 02/05/2013
  • “Ten others [Republican governors], including Texan Rick Perry, say they won’t, though when the federal taxes their voters pay sluice into other states’ Medicaid plans, they may well have second thoughts.” Plain Dealer, 02/09/2013
  • “Not to be forgotten either, revenues would accrue from the economic activity — increased employment and sales — that come with the flow of billions of federal dollars into the state and local economy.” Beacon Journal, 01/19/2013
  • “Regarding the question of Medicaid expansion, whether to offer more low-income uninsured Ohioans access to health care through the state and federal funded health program for the poor, John Kasich arrived at a decision that is both pragmatic and justified on moral grounds.” Beacon Journal, 02/05/2013
  • “Pass up the expansion, and Ohio and its hospitals lose in three ways: They lose a larger pool of covered patients and paid services. They lose from the payment reductions in the new law. And they continue to lose from having to deliver required but uncompensated services. Phillip Ennen, a hospital executive was not exaggerating when he explained to legislators: ‘The expansion isn’t ‘good’ for Ohio, it’s necessary.'” Beacon Journal, 03/06/2013
  • “Think of it as unlocking the value of Medicaid: 450,000 more Ohioans with health insurance, representing a net revenue gain of about $1.4 billion to the state over eight years. The only way to lose is for Gov. John Kasich to say no to expanding Medicaid coverage under Obamacare.” Blade, 01/21/2013
  • “Expansion will bring more federal dollars into the state to purchase health care from Ohio medical providers, more than $5 billion by 2022. That increased economic activity results in more revenue from state sales tax and from individual and corporate income taxes.” Enquirer, 02/03/2013

Other States Will Take “Our” Medicaid Expansion Funding if We Do Not

  • “It’s practical, too. And without it, Ohioans would foot the bill, via the federal taxes they pay, for Medicaid expansion in states that do opt for expansion, such as Michigan and Arizona.” Plain Dealer, 02/20/2013
  • “The pragmatist in Kasich recognizes the financial calculus at play: If he opts out of expansion, Ohioans still will pay federal taxes, some $13 billion over seven years, which will help finance health care in other states.” Beacon Journal, 02/05/2013
  • “Many of the federal tax dollars that will subsidize Medicaid expansion were collected in Ohio. But they will go to other states if Ohio doesn’t want them.” Blade, 01/21/2013

Only Irrational Ideologues Oppose Medicaid Expansion

  • “In pursuing an expansion of Medicaid under the federal health-care overhaul, Gov. John Kasich wisely is putting pragmatism before party and ideology.” Dispatch, 02/10/2013
  • “Any responsible leader also can see that the terms of the expansion will benefit Ohio.” Dispatch, 02/10/2013
  • “Such purists generally aren’t responsible for the economic well-being of entire states. 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.” Dispatch, 02/10/2013
  • “A Kasich call for Medicaid expansion could tempt Statehouse partisans to refight the Washington war over Obamacare. But as U.S. House Speaker John Boehner of the GOP has said, it’s the law of the land.” Plain Dealer, 01/26/2013
  • “It will satisfy neither ideologues of the left nor those on the right.” Plain Dealer, 02/05/2013
  • “Running through Gov. John Kasich’s 2013 State of the State speech Tuesday was the notion that fellow Republicans who rule the General Assembly should act with open minds — and political balance, especially on Kasich’s bid for Medicaid expansion.” Plain Dealer, 02/20/2013
  • “In doing so Kasich, commendably, has put the health of many Ohioans and the state’s economic interests above the usual partisan politics. Correctly, he has pointed out that ‘when you look at the facts, when you strip out ideology or political considerations’ it makes ‘the most sense’ for Ohio to accept the federal offer to pay between 100 percent and 90 percent of the cost of coverage for those who become eligible for Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.” Beacon Journal, 02/05/2013
  • “If Kasich is facing up to the ‘great sense’ in taking the federal deal, the challenge for him now is to make the reality as obvious to his conservative colleagues in the Statehouse.” Beacon Journal, 02/05/2013
  • “Given the facts on the table, the rigid Republican opposition to Medicaid expansion in Ohio appears more like a partisan pact to spite what they call ‘Obamacare.’” Beacon Journal, 02/05/2013
  • “Opponents of the health-care law consider expansion of the health program for low-income families, indigent seniors and the disabled an economic disaster for the state and a betrayal by the governor. Some even have pledged to work to unseat legislators who dare to vote for the expansion. Yet the proposal rightly has garnered remarkably strong and uniform support across the spectrum of care providers who see firsthand the failures of the current system.” Beacon Journal, 03/06/2013
  • “But the prospect of adding more than a half-million new clients to Ohio’s Medicaid rolls raises ideological hackles, [in] a Republican-dominated Statehouse opposed to additional costs and more government involvement.” Beacon Journal, 03/12/2013

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