One of the more prevalent misconceptions at the Statehouse lately is that Medicaid is a broken system, and thus unworthy of expanding in Ohio. Actually, what is broken, as Greg Moody of the Governor’s Office on Health Transformation explained to a House committee this week, is the larger health-care system, of which Medicaid is part, serving those with low incomes.
Truth be told, Medicaid offers bright spots. Consider that during the past decade, the program’s costs per beneficiary have increased more slowly than employer-sponsored insurance.
And when Medicaid has been expanded in the past? The change has delivered positive results.
The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities noted in a recent report the “numerous studies” showing the benefits of improving access to preventive and primary care through Medicaid. For instance, eligibility for children expanded in the late 1980s and early 1990s, and resulted in a 5.1 percent reduction in childhood deaths.
After Medicaid extended coverage to a larger number of low-income pregnant women, the rate of infant mortality declined 8.5 percent, and incidence of low-birth weight fell 7.8 percent.
Hardly anyone today makes a reasonable argument for rolling back such coverage and the subsequent advances. So it is likely with the current proposal to expand Medicaid, especially with the efficiencies and other reforms implemented by Gov. John Kasich and his team, the benefits to Ohio clear, significant and enduring.