Ohio can’t afford to opt out of Medicaid expansion

- September 13, 2012
   
For immediate release
Contact Wendy Patton, 614.582.0048
 
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Much to gain from saying yes, analysis finds

Expanding Medicaid to cover more uninsured Ohioans would use federal funds to support a healthier Ohio, bringing billions of dollars to the state and cutting health care costs, according to a new analysis released today by Policy Matters Ohio. Ohio will receive $17.3 billion in new federal dollars as a result of the expansion between 2014-19, while savings in the state would total between $1.1 billion and $2.3 billion. New federal funds could pay the annual wages of 50,000 health care workers in Ohio, boosting the state’s economy.

“There is a lot to gain from saying yes to expansion,” said Wendy Patton, report author and state fiscal project director for Policy Matters. “Previously uninsured Ohioans would gain access to preventive care and have a better chance for healthy and productive lives.”

A decision by the Kasich administration to implement the Medicaid expansion that’s part of the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would allow hundreds of thousands of low-income working adults to get better health care. Access to preventive care, like cancer screenings and regular check-ups, reduces the suffering and financial burdens that people with chronic illness often face. It can also reduce the spread of infectious disease.

The issue brief, Ohio should say yes to Medicaid expansion, outlines five reasons state policymakers should implement the expansion, including healthier residents, coverage of most costs by the federal government, an influx of federal dollars, and savings that offset costs of expansion.

“If Ohio doesn’t expand Medicaid, federal dollars that would have come to us will go to other states and uninsured Ohioans will continue to drive up health care costs,” said Patton. “We encourage Ohio’s elected leaders to implement the Medicaid expansion – for the benefit of all.”

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