Today, Ohio Gov. John Kasich moved his state into the column with those of four other Republican governors, by accepting additional federal dollars for Medicaid under Obamacare.
Although some stories on Kasich’s decision highlight his praise of White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett, there was another, crucial part of their conversation:
Specifically, Kasich said the White House indicated it would consider proposals from Ohio that would put fewer people into Medicaid and more into private health insurance.
In fact on January 31, at a preview of Kasich’s upcoming two-year budget, he told reporters that he sees the expansion decision as separate from the federal law’s mandate, and that his biggest concern is whether the state can trust the federal government to continue picking up the bulk of program costs.
Kasich acknowledged that Ohio and federal authorities may not be able to strike a deal. “I don’t know if it’ll be workable at the end of the day,” he said.”
No surprise then that the budget contains this dead man’s switch, if the federal government doesn’t keep its end of the bargain (emphasis mine):
The Executive budget extends Medicaid coverage to low-income adults up to 138 percent of poverty. The federal government will pay 100 percent of this cost for three years, decreasing to 90 percent in 2020 and beyond. If the federal government changes this agreement then Ohio will automatically reverse this decision.
Update: The four other Republican governors are Brian Sandoval (Nevada), Susana Martinez (New Mexico), Jack Dalrymple (North Dakota) and Jan Brewer (Arizona).