A new report says Medicaid expansion could bring Ohio nearly one and a half billion dollars over the next ten years. But Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports, state officials are not convinced about the costs involved.
State officials haven't yet decided whether to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
But budget director Tim Keen is concerned about the so-called "woodwork effect", where people who are eligible for Medicaid but haven't signed up do so in droves - and their costs won't be covered by the new health care law
We will have to absorb these costs. And that means there's that much less money that is available for us to apply to other areas, including some of the tax cuts that the Governor wants to put into this budget."
But Cathy Levine with Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage says expanding Medicaid will bring in more provider, sales and incomes taxes to help the state deal with what she calls the "welcome mat effect" - which she says will happen anyway.
"If I were the state budget director and were worried about the woodwork effect, I would support the Medicaid expansion as the best way to pay for the woodwork effect that will happen whether or not we do the Medicaid expansion."
Several groups have come out in favor of Medicaid expansion, including the Ohio State Medical Association and the Columbus Chamber of Commerce.