A recent editorial, ''Opt out of Medicaid expansion,'' Jan. 30, urged lawmakers to reject opening Ohio's Medicaid program to more beneficiaries.
As both a longtime physician and businessman, I share the editorial's concerns about sustainable funding for an expanded Medicaid program in Ohio. Should Gov. Kasich recommend expansion, those concerns will and should be addressed.
However, I caution the notion of immediately rejecting the idea of Medicaid expansion in Ohio. Expansion is actually a good deal for our state. Expansion will bring in more than $23.8 billion. These funds will boost our economy, relieve overburdened hospitals, improve health and safety and decrease uncompensated care (to the tune of $2.3 billion) we all pay for in some way.
A recent study by the independent Health Policy Institute of Ohio, with The Ohio State University, the Urban Institute and Regional Economic Models Inc., of the likely effects of Medicaid expansion on the Ohio taxpayers found that the costs to Ohioans were more than met by the savings realized.
Here's another critical point about Medicaid expansion if Ohio says no, the dollars and the jobs they represent will go elsewhere. Not one dollar is saved if we decline on expansion. Ohio tax dollars will go to work in another state.
Right now, Ohio's Medicaid program is being transformed in unprecedented fashion. Operations are becoming more efficient, cost-effective and accessible. Expanding the program will take best advantage of these significant measures to create a model system.
I urge state lawmakers to consider the many reasons why Medicaid expansion makes sense for Ohio.