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Government & Politics

Gov. Kasich says Ohioans Can't Recover from Planned GOP Health-Care Cuts

photo of Gov. John Kasich
Ohio is one of 31 states plus the District of Columbia that expanded Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

Gov. John Kasich has been gaining national attention for criticizing the health-care proposal coming from Congressional Republicans, especially when it comes to cutting Medicaid coverage. As Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow reports, Kasich says there’s not much he and other state leaders could do if those cuts happen.

The health-care cuts proposed by Republican U.S. House leaders and backed by President Donald Trump would eventually terminate Medicaid expansion and change the way tax credits are doled out.

Gov. John Kasich fears this means 700,000 Ohioans who currently have health insurance under expanded Medicaid would be left stranded.

To Kasich, the best path would be for Congressional Democrats and Republicans to come together with a compromise.

“With one party trying to jam these things through, you’re going to end up with a continued political fight and (you) will not allow us to move to the next stage, which is to deal with the rising health care costs we see in this country," Kasich said.

​The state picture
Kasich has been touting the way Ohio was able to take federal funding to expand coverage under Medicaid while reigning in the costs.

Medicaid is by far the biggest chunk of the state budget, which is currently working its way through the Legislature. Kasich says, if Congress continues with its plan, the state of Ohio wouldn’t be able to make up the difference.

“We don’t have the money to make up, for example on the Medicaid side potentially a billion, a billion and a half. We can’t do that; it’s really expensive. So there’ll be a lot of people that will go without coverage and it won’t be good," Kasich said.

Bigger losses for Ohio
A report from the Center for Community Solutions says if the current plan passes, Ohio could lose up to $26 billion in federal funding for Medicaid from 2019 through 2025, including as much as $2 billion annually in Medicaid expansion alone.

The current GOP plan would phase out Medicaid expansion by 2020. Other Republicans, such as Congressman Jim Jordan of western Ohio, are still pursuing an outright repeal of Obamacare and the Medicaid expansion as early as 2018.