by Matt Mayer, Opportunity Ohio
John Kasich’s Washington Ways: each month on the 10th, Ohio Governor John Kasich’s Office of Budget & Management issues a report on the state of the budget (http://www.obm.ohio.gov/Budget/monthlyfinancial/). The October report came out late yesterday, which was unusual because it usually hits the Internet in the morning. See the pictures to understand why it didn’t come out well before the Republican debate in Wisconsin.
First, on the revenue side, note that the “surplus” revenue this year — $33,058,000 — comes entirely from federal funds — $38,648,000. Those funds are expanded Medicaid funds.
Next, see Table 3 on actual versus estimated spending. I highlighted the Medicaid spending because this line is the one Governor Kasich uses to claim that Medicaid spending is “down” 2.8%. What he isn’t saying is that Medicaid spending is down from a somewhat arbitrary estimate made in the budget back in June. This actual versus estimate approach to spending is a classic Washington way of claiming that spending is down, which given his long years in Washington is all too familiar to John Kasich.
Is Medicaid spending really down?
That gets us to the final picture showing actual spending this year as compared to the same time last year. For Main Street America, that comparison is the one that matters. On that point, contrary to what he claims, Medicaid spending is up a stunning 14.4% from FY2015 to FY2016. It will only get worse as the expanded Medicaid rolls grow. For Ohioans, that means their 10% share of expanded Medicaid is a blank check John Kasich wrote that they’ll have to pay starting in 2017.
Oh, one more thing. Go back to the second picture showing revenues for the year. See that variance in the third column under Federal Grants of $388,308,000 — that means Ohio got more federal funds for Medicaid than expected. Under expanded Medicaid, Ohioans will have to pay 10% of the cost. Well, 10% of $388,308,000 is $38,308,000, which is roughly $5,000,000 more than the “surplus” of $33,058,000. The worst part is that our 10% will apply to far more than just the $388,308,000 variance…