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· July 30, 2012

Medicaid Expansion Could Save 3,400 Ohio Lives

For Immediate Release:  July 30, 2012 Contact:  Dale Butland, 614-783-5833


IO Urges Kasich To Support Expansion; Be “Consistently Pro-Life”

Columbus — Innovation Ohio, a progressive think tank headquartered in Columbus, today cited a new study in the prestigious New England Journal of Medicine which suggested that expanding Medicaid eligibility as called for in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could prevent 3,400 Ohio deaths per year. The think tank also called on Gov. Kasich to support Medicaid expansion, saying that “being pro-life should include more than just being anti-abortion.” According to the study, published July 25th, Harvard University School of Public Health researchers found that for every 176 adults covered under expanded Medicaid, one death per year would be prevented. The study compared three states (Arizona, New York and Maine) that have already expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income citizens with four neighboring states that had not. Deaths in the three expansion states dropped by 6% per year, while deaths in non-expansion states went up. Read the report here. According to the Kasich administration’s Office of Health Transformation, 597,500 adults would qualify for Medicaid in 2014 if the program is expanded according to ACA guidelines. Using the study’s formula of one death prevented for every 176 adults covered, expanded Medicaid coverage in Ohio would yield 3,395 fewer deaths per year than would occur without it. Although the U.S. Supreme Court has upheld the constitutionality of the ACA, it made the law’s Medicaid expansion voluntary. Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor have said they are undecided about the expansion and have expressed concern over Ohio’s ability to afford it. The federal government, however, will pick up 100% of the cost in 2014, 2015 and 2016, an average of 93% of the cost in 2017, 2018 and 2019, and 90% of the cost in 2020 and all years thereafter. Said IO Communications Director Dale Butland: “By expanding Medicaid to the poorest of the poor, Ohio can prevent 3,400 needless deaths a year. Equally important, we can do it at no cost to ourselves initially, and then for just 10 cents on the dollar beginning in 2020. Most people would say that’s a moral no-brainer, and a fiscal bargain for the ages. “Yet Gov. Kasich, who never tires of telling us how ‘pro-life’ he is, remains undecided about the expansion. But surely being ‘pro-life’ should include more than just being anti-abortion. We strongly urge Gov. Kasich to do what’s right for Ohio’s poorest citizens. And if he should decide that Ohio cannot ‘afford’ to prevent these deaths, we hope he will also see fit to tell us exactly how much he thinks a life is worth. “

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