Health

Ohio Reports Its Medicaid Expansion Helped 290,000 Enrollees Transition Off Because Of Jobs Or Raises

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Evie Fordham Politics and Health Care Reporter

Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich is touting a report that says the state’s 2014 Medicaid expansion helped 290,000 people unenroll from the assistance plan after they received jobs or raises enabled in part by Medicaid services.

Kasich’s Tuesday tweets about the report come as he faces his final months in office and worries about Republican Ohio gubernatorial nominee Mike Dewine. The nominee only recently warmed up to Medicaid expansion after denouncing the Affordable Care Act, which included Medicaid expansion.

“Expansion has worked in Ohio,” Kasich wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

Thirty-three states and the District of Columbia have adopted Medicaid expansion, while Idaho, Utah and Nebraska were considering adopting it as of late July, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Kasich spurned his party in 2013 to push Medicaid expansion through, reported The New York Times.

More than one million Ohioans have received Medicaid benefits because of the expansion, according to the state Department of Medicaid report. The number of Ohio Medicaid enrollees decreased from 721,000 in fiscal year 2017 to 692,000 in fiscal year 2018, according to the report. (RELATED: Hospitals Claim Mergers Cut Costs To Get Deals Approved, But The Savings Aren’t Adding Up)

“The Medicaid Expansion report shows more parents found it easier to pay for food and shelter,” Kasich wrote on Twitter Tuesday. “And more found it easier to find and hold onto a job.”

Other points that Ohio’s Medicaid officials are claiming include:

  • The number of uninsured Ohioans was cut in half by Medicaid expansion.
  • ER visits fell by 17 percent while the number of individuals seeing primary care physicians rose 10 percent.
  • The number of employed expansion enrollees increased 15 percent from 2016 to 2018.

Ohio’s state budget office said that keeping Medicaid expansion, which is partially federally funded, will be a “significantly better financial state” than returning to traditional Medicaid in a report also released Tuesday. That is despite the fact that federal funding decrease for the program in 2021, when expanded Medicaid will cost $5.2 billion in total in Ohio. However, the state will not take on all of those costs.

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