Keith Faber, the Senate president, explained last week why his caucus had rejected the expansion of Medicaid as proposed by Gov. John Kasich. He also wanted Ohioans to know that he and his fellow Republicans were not ending the debate on Medicaid reform. He told reporters: “We believe that there is a path to Medicaid reform that covers people who need it in the short term, while reducing costs in the long term.”
Faber wants “reform that allows us to provide more services to more individuals for less money.” No small challenge, if the goal involves actually reducing Medicaid spending.
And if the objective is the more realistic task of slowing its growth? That is just what the governor has put forward.
Take the idea of bringing better care to those with severe mental illnesses. Enroll them in Medicaid, and they are more likely to receive early care, see a doctor on a regular basis and stick with their medication. In addition, they would be in position to function normally, holding jobs, making a productive contribution.
Part of that contribution involves many with a severe mental illness no longer behind bars, easing the cost of their cycling continuously through the criminal justice system. The result is opportunity and savings, just as the governor says.