Sunday, April 24, 2016

Ohio Medicaid expansion costs top $7.5 billion

By  @Ohio April 19, 2016 10 Comments

Part 26 of 26 in the series Ohio's Obamacare expansion
Ohio Medicaid expansion costs sailed farther past Gov. John Kasich’s projections in March, as total spending on the program topped the $7.5 billion mark.

Expansion cost $411 million last month, making March the most expensive month yet. For the past six months, expansion costs reported by the Ohio Department of Medicaid averaged $394 million — dwarfing other state programs.

Kasich’s budget office reported $312 million in primary and secondary education expenditures, $186 million in higher education expenditures, and $170 million in justice and public protection expenditures in March.

The governor predicted that adding working-age adults with no kids and no disabilities to the Medicaid rolls under the 2010 federal health law would cost $14 billion from 2014-20. Actual spending puts Kasich’s Obamacare expansion on track to cost $28.5 billion by 2020.


Kasich relied on a February 2013 study from the consulting firm Mercer for the Obamacare expansion cost projections he shared with legislators and the media in the months before he unilaterally expanded Medicaid.

Expansion costs continue to outpace Kasich’s expectations primarily because Mercer underestimated how many Ohioans would sign up. Enrollment was 673,000 in March; Mercer estimated 447,000 would enroll by 2020.


Mercer estimated that more than 80,000 expansion enrollees would move to Medicaid from private health insurance by 2016, but the Kasich administration does not know how many enrollees previously had insurance. The Kasich administration also does not know how many enrollees have jobs.

With three months left in the state’s fiscal 2016, average monthly expansion enrollment is 4.2 percent higher than budget projections the Ohio Department of Medicaid revised less than a year ago. Expansion costs are over budget by 7.5 percent, relative to last spring’s ODM projections.
Even though Kasich’s Medicaid expansion is likely to cost twice as much as Kasich said it would by 2020, the Republican governor is running a presidential campaign built around the policy’s supposed success.

Three years to the day after Mercer’s estimates were published, Kasich told the national audience of a Feb. 13 CBS News debate that his Obamacare expansion was “coming in below cost estimates.”
“This has worked out great for us, and we’re saving money,” Kasich said when asked about Obamacare expansion at a CNN town hall several days later. Expanding Medicaid has helped Ohio’s balance sheet in the short-term, at the expense of current and future federal taxpayers.

Despite the $19 trillion national debt, Obamacare promises funding for 100 percent of Medicaid expansion benefit costs through the end of this year. Federal funding will decline to 95 percent in 2017 and gradually drop to 90 percent by 2020.

Under current law,  Ohio taxpayers will be stuck with at least $20 million in additional monthly Obamacare expansion costs starting next January.

Part 26 of 26 in the series Ohio's Obamacare expansion

  1. Ohio Medicaid expansion costs top $7.5 billion
  2. How many Ohio Medicaid expansion enrollees have jobs?
  3. Ohio Medicaid expansion sign-ups keep crushing projections
  4. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion has cost taxpayers $7 billion
  5. Flashback: Gov. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion end-run
  6. Has Ohio Gov. Kasich really restrained Medicaid growth?
  7. Ohio Obamacare expansion keeps getting bigger
  8. Ohio’s Obamacare expansion has cost taxpayers $5 billion
  9. Ohio Medicaid spending is skyrocketing under Gov. Kasich
  10. Three-fourths of Ohio Obamacare enrollees are on Medicaid
  11. Ohio’s dependence on Medicaid is the worst in the Midwest
  12. At $4 billion, Ohio Obamacare expansion blows past projected costs
  13. Ohio’s Obamacare expansion already $1 billion over budget
  14. Ohio Obamacare expansion costs $3 billion in first 15 months
  15. Ohio House Republicans embrace Obamacare expansion
  16. Ohio lawmakers show no inclination to stop budget-busting Obamacare expansion
  17. Obamacare puts half a million Ohioans on Medicaid
  18. No money, no problem for Ohio Obamacare expansion
  19. Two-thirds of Ohio’s Obamacare enrollees are on Medicaid
  20. Ohio Obamacare expansion 33 percent over budget in first year
  21. Ohio budget relies on billions in new Obamacare spending
  22. Ohio: Who’s paying for Kasich’s Medicaid expansion?
  23. Obamacare adds 450,000 Ohioans to Medicaid rolls
  24. Ohio Gov. Kasich wants rubber stamp for Obamacare money
  25. Will Ohioans be taken in by Obamacare Medicaid spin?
  26. Obamacare expansion passes Ohio governor’s July 2015 projection
  27. See More...

     is an Ohio-based reporter covering labor issues for, with a focus on right-to-work, public employee unions and Obamacare. Before joining Watchdog, Jason was communications director for Media Trackers Ohio. His work has been featured at, Hot Air, The Daily Signal, RedState, Townhall and elsewhere. His investigations into labor union spending and Obamacare's Medicaid expansion have been cited by national commentators including Jim Geraghty, Michelle Malkin, Erick Erickson, Dana Loesch and Mark Levin. Jason can be reached on Twitter at @jasonahart and by email at

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