Study: Ohio Medicaid costs would surge without expansion

Ohio is the most populous state whose leadership has yet to decide whether to fully embrace the Affordable Care Act. It stands to lose money if it doesn't expand its Medicaid program, reported the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Citing data from a study undertaken by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio and Ohio State University, Ohio would spend $17.4 billion a year on its Medicaid program. That takes into account an average annual spending increase of 7.2 percent and the current 40 percent the state pays to provide Medicaid coverage. Under the ACA, the state's share of payments would never rise above 10 percent, and spending would increase to $14.2 billion a year by 2025, the Enquirer reported.

However, the cost increases are pegged to Ohio, reducing its annual Medicaid costs increases to 3.5 percent per year, a cut of more than half from the current cost trends.

Expanding Medicaid would cover an additional 366,000 Ohioans, and would take significant financial pressure off of hospitals.

However, more than half the states are unlikely to immediately expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA, leaving as many as 60 percent of Americans eligible without coverage.

The Ohio study's findings were presented to a state legislative panel. Ohio's lawmakers have yet to vote on expanding the Medicaid program, and the window of being able to do so in time for early 2014 is quickly closing, according to the Enquirer.

For more:
- read the Enquirer article
- here's the study (.pdf)