Kasich Medicaid Expansion Rhetoric Rejected by Republican Governors Association Chair

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R)
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal (R)

Louisiana governor and Republican Governors Association (RGA) chairman Bobby Jindal explained why he rejected Medicaid expansion and why “every state should do the same” in a July 23 New Orleans Times-Picayune column. Jindal rebuffed the arguments being used by Ohio Governor John Kasich as Kasich pursues billions in new federal funding.

“First, as a general principle, we should not move people from private insurance onto government-run programs,” Gov. Jindal wrote. “It seems a matter of common sense that we should want to encourage self-sufficiency and target taxpayer spending only for those most in need.”

An estimated 90 percent of the Ohioans covered under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion would be able-bodied childless adults under the age of 65.

To obscure the fact that this means pushing into Medicaid individuals the program was never meant to insure, Gov. Kasich insists specific groups – the mentally ill, the drug-addicted, veterans – need Ohio to adopt the Medicaid expansion.

Instead of developing Ohio-based solutions for the citizens Gov. Kasich claims Ohio needs to help, Kasich worked with the hospital lobby and socialized medicine advocates to build rhetoric around the “free” money promised by PPACA.

“We should measure success by reducing the number of people on public assistance,” Gov. Jindal continued. “But the Left has been very clear – their goal is to transform all health care in America into government-run health care.”

Despite campaigning on his disdain for PPACA, Kasich has embraced progressive talking points to promote the PPACA Medicaid expansion.

“Medicaid expansion could cost Louisiana taxpayers up to $1.7 billion over the first 10 years of implementation, and the cost will keep rising,” Jindal wrote. “Even President Obama has previously supported a ‘blended’ federal matching rate, which is a euphemism for shifting costs to the states.”

The left-leaning Urban Institute has projected Ohio’s Medicaid spending would increase by almost $600 million per year by 2021 if Ohio were to implement the PPACA Medicaid expansion.

“Expanding the program will make it even harder for Louisiana to invest in programs that will grow the private sector, not the government sector, and to reduce our tax burden,” Jindal wrote. “Our federal government is already drowning in entitlement spending; now the feds are trying to drown us as well.”

Gov. Jindal explained a number of ways Louisiana has worked to pay for health care for the state’s uninsured before adding, “Given the results from the Oregon Experiment, which at the very least raise serious doubts about whether expanding Medicaid will result in the promised health benefits, states should be given the flexibility to design their own programs for their own populations rather than implementing a one-size-fits-all Washington mandate.”

Gov. Kasich has not addressed the Oregon Medicaid results published in The New England Journal of Medicine at the beginning of May, because Ohio’s legacy press has not challenged him to do so.

The Oregon study found that Medicaid coverage “generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first 2 years” and didn’t lead to “significant changes in visits to the emergency department.” Those findings undermine Kasich Administration arguments which have been repeated without question by Ohio reporters.

Jindal’s final point in his July 23 column was one Media Trackers has been making since mid-February, and which has been ignored by every newspaper in the state.

Gov. Jindal wrote that “contrary to what the president believes, borrowing money from China to expand government spending is not economic development.”

“We’ve all heard people say, ‘Well, if we don’t grab these federal dollars, our tax money will go to Medicaid expansion in other states.’ Sounds logical, too bad it is 100 percent false. Medicaid is an entitlement program, and therefore there is no fixed amount of federal Medicaid spending to be reallocated from state to state.”

Jindal concluded, “This president has shown through his policies and rhetoric that he does not trust the American people, does not believe in a local control approach to the problems we face, and instead prefers to expand the power, the price and the reach of government. The era of big government is here.”

And John Kasich is fighting to strengthen its hold over the Buckeye State.