Ohio Gov. John Kasich said his Obamacare expansion would cost $13 billion in its first seven years. It cost $10 billion in less than half that time.
Kasich’s Obamacare expansion cost estimates were nowhere near the target, even by horseshoe or hand grenade standards.
In September alone, Kasich’s Obamacare expansion cost $470 million. The program has cost at least $375 million per month every month for the past year, roughly double the governor’s projections.
Where’d the money for all this new welfare spending come from, you ask? It’s “Ohio money” Kasich brought back to the state, if you believe Kasich.
Through the end of this year, federal taxpayers are stuck with 100% of the benefit costs for every state’s Obamacare expansion. That’s billions of dollars in new federal deficit spending. And for what?
Obamacare expansion makes working-age adults with no kids and no disabilities eligible for Medicaid — a welfare program previously reserved for the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women, children, and impoverished parents.
Kasich said 447,000 Ohioans would sign up for his Obamacare expansion by 2020. As of August, actual enrollment was 714,000. Next time the economy tanks, there will likely be 1 million Ohioans on Medicaid under Obamacare.
States will have to pay for 5% of their Obamacare expansion costs starting in January, and the state share is set to increase to 10% by 2020. State lawmakers who thought this was a great idea a few years ago are suddenly not so sure.
Congressional Republicans and President Obama himself have suggested Medicaid expansion’s federal match rate will have to be cut; the national debt was $12.7 trillion when Obamacare became law in 2010, and today it’s $19.7 trillion.
In Ohio, where Obamacare expansion costs are fast approaching $1 billion every two months, state taxpayers will have to pony up at least a quarter of a billion dollars for the program next year.
To justify this, Kasich spins Obamacare expansion as a Biblically-endorsed way to help drug addicts, the mentally ill, and the working poor. Which sounds nice, except that:
- Government coercion isn’t charity
- Obamacare expansion is not in any way targeted at drug addicts or the mentally ill
- Obamacare expansion has no work requirements
- Obamacare expansion is expected to shrink the labor force
This is Kasich’s trademark achievement as governor: after the Ohio General Assembly voted against it, he expanded Medicaid unilaterally and threatened to bankrupt the entire program if the state didn’t take Obamacare money. Kasich being Kasich (and John Weaver being his campaign guru), he wears this “as a badge of honor.”
You might think putting 700,000 working-age adults on welfare is an insane policy for a Republican to pin his presidential hopes on, but that’s exactly what Kasich did this cycle… and he’s already reciting the same lines with an eye on 2020.
So if the nation and the Republican Party survive the Trumpocalypse, we’ve got that to look forward to.