Ohio spends more of its budget on Medicaid than any other state: Report

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Ohio spends more taxpayer dollars on Medicaid as a percent of its state budget than any other state in the country, according to a WalletHub report released Monday.

The report from the personal finance website ranked states based on Medicaid spending, quality and eligibility and enrollment. Ohio landed 17th on the list, ranking 18th in the country in total Medicaid spending.

At the same time, according to the WalletHub report, President Joe Biden’s administration is looking into expanding Medicaid.

“Medicaid expansion has cut the uninsured rate in half, with excellent health and economic benefits to many Americans,” said Dr. Tasleem J. Padamsee, assistant professor in the College of Public Health at The Ohio State University said. “From a public health and individual health perspective, expanding Medicaid across all states is an excellent idea.

“There are two potential drawbacks of Medicaid expansion,” Padamsee said. “States who expand Medicaid do bear a fraction of the cost of covering the additional individuals who sign up, but most of the cost is borne by the federal government. In some places, Medicaid expansion is politically unpopular because of (accurate) associations with Obamacare and (inaccurate) associations with socialism.”

Former President Donald Trump’s administration approved an Ohio waiver request to allow the state to require those on Medicaid to work 80 hours a month, however, the proposal has not been implemented. The Biden administration has notified states that have a Medicaid work requirement to start the process of withdrawing the waivers.

Ohio state Sen. Tim Schaffer, R-Lancaster, introduced a bill last month that implements Medicaid work requirements, as well as establishing other entitlement program reforms he said would curb fraud and waste in Medicaid and the state’s food stamp and unemployment programs.

The bill calls for data cross-checks Schaffer said would allow the Ohio Department of Medicaid to verify the eligibility of program users.

The bill has had three hearings in the Senate Government Oversight and Reform Committee, with only three witnesses offer testimony for the proposed regulations. By contrast, nearly 50 individuals and groups ranging from county commissions to the Franklin County auditor’s office, food banks and the American Cancer Society all call for the bill’s defeat.

“Work requirements are counter to public health goals. Most of the U.S. poor already work – many work multiple jobs, but these jobs do not pay enough to allow them to afford other forms of health insurance,” Padamsee said

Georgia, who spends less in total Medicaid spending per low-income population, ranked as the state with the lowest Medicaid score in the report, while Alabama spends less on Medicaid than any other state.

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