Ohio Treasurer Against Medicaid Expansion

While I am not a big fan of Mr. Mandel and think it was wrong for him to cave into pressure from the Republican Party and run in the most recent Senate elections, I am pleased at the letter he wrote to the Speaker of the OH House. Mr. Mandel is correct in stating that this expansion of Medicaid will further burden Ohio’s future generations and that a program implemented is rarely taken away because of the political implications that it poses. Speaker Batchelder and Senate President Haber would be wise to head Mr. Mandel’s advise especially considering that the voters of Ohio overwhelmingly rejected the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) by 2/3rds with the passage of the Healthcare Freedom Amendment in 2010.  Kudos to Mr. Mandel for  having the courage to buck the Republican system and come out against Governor Kasich and his proposal to accept the Medicaid expansion.

February 11, 2013

Honorable William Batchelder
Honorable Keith Faber
The Ohio Statehouse
1 Capitol Square
Columbus, Ohio 43215

Dear Speaker Batchelder and President Faber,

As Treasurer of Ohio, I am charged as the state’s chief fiscal officer with the duty of overseeing the collection, disbursement and safekeeping of public funds.  Simply put, I act as a fiscal watchdog of Ohioans’ hard-earned tax dollars.  It is with my fiscal duties in mind that I write today and urge you to prudently consider the long-term financial implications of voluntarily implementing the Medicaid expansion in Ohio and to reject this expansion during the budget process.

Though the federal government is promising to pay for most of the expansion in the near term, it is currently borrowing approximately 40 cens of every dollar is spends.  I am concerned that expanding Medicaid in Ohio will overwhelm an already broken system and place an unbearable burden on generations of Ohioans.

I appreciate that you are being forced to choose between two undesirable options – because the Affordable Care Act (also known as “Obamacare”) was designed this way. Voting against the Medicaid expansion means that Ohio would receive less federal funding. Voting for the Medicaid expansion would, as I have described, burden current and future generations of Ohioans with even more federal debt and eventually increase the state’s funding of Medicaid. While the proposed “opt-out” trigger is a well-intentioned safeguard to retract Medicaid’s expansion if the federal government reduces its funding share, I am concerned whether such a safeguard would be honored in the future, because history has shown that once a government benefit is given it is rarely taken away.

There is no free money. While expanding Medicaid may direct more federal dollars to Ohio in the next few years, in the long term Ohioans will have to repay the debt that is funding the federal government spending. The federal government has an approximate $16.4 trillion national debt, and entitlement spending alone is projected to consume all revenue by 2045. If Ohio’s leaders take the bait today, I fear that generations of Ohio taxpayers will be on the hook for the long-term costs of expanding Medicaid.

As Ohioans, we share a common fate with all Americans. Whether taxes by the state or federal government, the Ohio taxpayers will inevitably shoulder the costs of a debt-funded Medicaid expansion. For these reasons, I urge you to reject an expansion of Medicaid in Ohio.


Josh Mandel
State Treasurer of Ohio

cc: Governor John Kasich
Members of the Ohio General Assembly