Bad public policy for Ohio

Toledo Blade: The version of the next state budget just passed by the Republican-controlled Ohio Senate ignores GOP Gov. John Kasich’s sensible proposal to expand the Medicaid program of health insurance for working-poor and disabled Ohioans.

Worse, Senate Republicans are looking for ways to restrict, rather than broaden, Medicaid eligibility.

That’s bad public policy. And even within the cramped ideology of GOP state lawmakers, such narrow-mindedness could prove bad politics as well.

The case for expanding Ohio’s cost-effective, innovative Medicaid program is compelling to just about everyone. Expansion would insure hundreds of thousands of low-income Ohioans for primary and preventive care. That would reduce the costs they otherwise would incur for emergency health care they couldn’t pay for — costs that are now borne by employers, taxpayers, and people with private coverage.

Expansion would create jobs, increase tax revenue, save the state money on such things as treatment of mental illness and drug addiction, and generate economic development.

And the federal government would pay for nearly all of Ohio’s expansion under the Affordable Care Act.

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