Paying for tax cuts with Medicaid

Hat top to Foraker for this infuriating news from Ohio. By the way, I expect this to be repeated across the country by the new GOP governors, because this is one of the ways they plan to starve healthcare reform:

From the Columbus Dispatch, we learn that Republicans plan on drastically cutting Medicaid eligibility as a means to balance the budget and pay for the tax cuts they passed in 2005, and any additional tax cuts Governor-elect Kasich intends on passing.

After his speech, the Medina resident said that kind of shortfall means there is no way to avoid making significant changes to Medicaid, the $12.5 billion state-federal health insurance program for the poor and disabled.

“First, we have to apply for exceptions, a lot of them,” Batchelder said, noting that in the past, the state asked the federal government for permission to expand Medicaid eligibility, but leaders now must go the other direction.

Asked if that meant reducing eligibility to 100 percent of the federal poverty level, $22,050 for a family of four, Batchelder said, “That seems to me to be inevitable.”

Presently, Ohio’s pregnant women or children from families with income 200% of the federal poverty level or below qualify for Medicaid.  Speaker-elect Batchelder just announced that it’s “inevitable” that they will reduce the income eligibility for those families in half.


That means more Ohio children and pregnant women without health insurance.

You know the percentage of Ohio House Republican candidates who ran on a promise to reduce Medicaid eligibility in Ohio by half was? Zero, zero percent.

Even worse for disabled workers who can work:


Oh, and if you’re an Ohioan that relies on Medicaid to help you pay for your Medicare Part B deductible, yep, you’re getting cut, too.

Let’s be perfectly clear.  While the recession definitely played a role in hurting the State’s revenues, by far the 2005 tax reforms which planned on cutting the State’s income taxes by 25% did far more to create the structural deficit that is projected to be anywhere between $3 to $7 billion unless the State receives additional stimulus money. The Republicans in control at the time passed the massive tax cut package without so much as a single thing to help pay for them.  They left that to Governor Strickland to largely figure out, and now Governor-elect Kasich wants to pass even more tax cuts.

As a result of these tax cuts, of which Governor-elect Kasich benefited economically more than most Ohioans, we now have a Republican-inflicted budget “crisis” that “requires” them to cut back on health insurance for the poor.  And you can just tell that Speaker Batchelder is really just torn up over it.