Ohio panel hears details on Medicaid projections

COLUMBUS (AP) — Projections showing that Ohio could save state and federal dollars by expanding Medicaid are just one part of a fact-finding process for state lawmakers debating changes to the health program, a key Republican lawmaker said today.

State Sen. Dave Burke, who chairs a Senate Medicaid subcommittee, said the recent analysis indicates that curbing the cost growth of Medicaid to a certain rate is feasible, even when more people are enrolled.

“Crafting policy about how we get there is where the cantankerous issues come up,” said Burke, a Marysville Republican.

State lawmakers have been trying to find common ground on Medicaid since Republican Gov. John Kasich proposed an extension of the federal-state program in February. GOP leaders pulled it from the state budget, and the issue has yet to gain traction in the Legislature.

Some Republicans legislators say they fear being stuck with long-term costs of Medicaid expansion and are leery of expanding government programs.

Burke and Sen. Capri Cafaro of Liberty, D-32nd, asked the Health Policy Institute of Ohio to compare Medicaid spending without expansion at its current growth rate, with spending that could occur under the expansion at a yearly rate that’s similar to an average cost of medical inflation.

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