15 Medicaid Expansion Facts Not Fit for The Columbus Dispatch

Columbus Dispatch headquarters

The number of Obamacare Medicaid expansion facts ignored by The Columbus Dispatch continues to grow as Governor John Kasich and a variety of groups seeking more taxpayer money attempt to shame conservative legislators into expanding the entitlement program.

The Dispatch editors endorsed Medicaid expansion in January and have since taken pains to bury evidence the expansion is a bad idea.

“In pursuing an expansion of Medicaid under the federal health-care overhaul, Gov. John Kasich wisely is putting pragmatism before party and ideology,” the paper’s editorial board wrote on February 10.

In the 7 months following Kasich’s February 4 release of his biennial budget, the Dispatch has smeared critics of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion as “purely ideological” while refusing to report the facts from 15 different studies undermining the paper’s leftist position.

  1. A 2010 University of Virginia study of almost 900,000 surgical procedures found that Medicaid patients were 13 percent more likely to die than patients with no health insurance. This fact is not fit for the Dispatch, whose editors and reporters seem to believe Medicaid’s health benefits are self-evident.
  2. A 2011 survey found that 28 percent of Ohio’s office-based physicians refused to accept new Medicaid patients. According to the Dispatch, this is not relevant to a debate about pushing hundreds of thousands of Ohioans into Medicaid.
  3. Research published in the medical journal Cancer in September 2012 concluded that Medicaid patients had worse survival rates than patients with no health insurance. This study also has not factored into any Dispatch news or opinion coverage, which frames Medicaid expansion as government compassion for poor Ohioans.
  4. On January 18, Opportunity Ohio published extensive quotes from a number of national conservative health policy experts contradicting assumptions made in a Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) study which treated new federal deficit spending as “free” money Ohio should use to “create jobs.” The Dispatch ignored Opportunity Ohio’s report completely.
  5. On January 31, The Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions explained its rationale for opposing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion and pointed out numerous shortcomings in the HPIO study. The Dispatch also ignored the Buckeye Institute’s paper, but continues repeating HPIO’s ridiculous conclusions to this day.
  6. A March 5, 2013 Mercatus Center report from Medicare Board of Trustees member Charles Blahous warned states not to adopt the Obamacare Medicaid expansion because DC cannot keep its funding promises for the expansion. At their most objective, Dispatch reporters paint Medicaid expansion critics as obsessed with federal deficit spending… yet the Dispatch never covered a major report affirming Medicaid expansion is a promise government cannot keep.
  7. On March 11, 2013, Media Trackers published a detailed analysis of the charity care funding Ohio Hospital Association members reported to the IRS, indicating most Ohio hospitals would net millions even if the charity care offsets Obamacare threatens to phase out were wiped out instantly. Buckeye Institute President Robert Alt cited our research – which directly contradicts hospital claims repeated frequently by the Dispatch – in March 13 Ohio House testimony, but the Dispatch refused to acknowledge our work and has continued to do so for over 5 months.
  8. A March 11 Foundation for Government Accountability (FGA) paper included proof Arizona’s recent expansion of Medicaid resulted in enrollment increases and per-patient costs much higher than estimated, while pushing Arizonans from private health insurance into Medicaid rather than guaranteeing a greater percentage of the state’s population was insured. FGA President Tarren Bragdon shared these findings with the Ohio House on March 13, but the Dispatch ignored Bragdon entirely.
  9. On March 13, Bragdon shared similar Medicaid expansion results from Maine, to a total blackout from the Dispatch.
  10. Likewise, Bragdon shared FGA research from Delaware showing Medicaid expansion did not close the coverage gap as promised. The Dispatch hasn’t found time to report on the facts from Delaware, but has capitalized on countless opportunities to repeat the very promises Medicaid expansions in Delaware, Arizona, and Maine failed to meet.
  11. Bragdon shared similar results from a recent Medicaid expansion in Oregon which have also been ignored by the Dispatch. The Dispatch hasn’t even informed its readers FGA or Bragdon exist, to say nothing of the FGA research devastating leftists’ arguments for expanding Medicaid.
  12. A May 1 paper published in The New England Journal of Medicine found that in Oregon, Medicaid coverage “generated no significant improvements in measured physical health outcomes in the first 2 years,” but this was another irrelevant medical study as far as the Dispatch is concerned.
  13. A June 12 paper jointly published by Opportunity Ohio and FGA reiterated FGA’s research of Medicaid expansions in other states, explained in detail why the arguments for implementing the Obamacare Medicaid expansion are flawed, and even identified a number of health reforms Ohio should pursue instead of expanding Medicaid. The Dispatch pretended not to notice the 30-page policy paper from one of Ohio’s two free market think tanks.
  14. A National Bureau of Economic Research working paper published in July concluded that Medicaid expansion would reduce America’s workforce, reduce employment, and push millions of Americans from private health insurance into Medicaid. The Dispatch addressed these incredibly damning findings for its pet policy the only way the Dispatch knows: by ignoring them.
  15. On August 26, The Buckeye Institute and Michigan’s Mackinac Center released a paper detailing the legal and practical reasons a “temporary” adoption of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion is impossible. Although Dispatch reporters race to hype inane HPIO research promoting Medicaid expansion, the Dispatch hasn’t printed a word about the Buckeye Institute paper since its publication over a week ago.

In addition to these 15 reports, studies, and white papers seemingly blacklisted by Dispatch editors, the Dispatch has refused to acknowledge Media Trackers and Buckeye Institute work debunking the false Kasich Administration talking points parroted by Dispatch reporters.

The Kasich campaign reported $12,000 in contributions this spring from Dispatch Publisher John Wolfe and another $12,000 from Wolfe’s wife, and should be reporting far more in-kind support from the Wolfe family.