Obama Health Care

From the Governor’s “Fact Sheet” on his first 100 days (pgs. 2-3):

In March, the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) announced federal approval of Ohio‘s Medicaid Provider Incentive Program (MPIP), an incentive program designed to encourage Medicaid providers to adopt electronic health record (EHR) systems. MPIP will open by June. EHRs can enhance health care outcomes and reduce overall health care costs by consolidating a patient’s health information and making it available to medical professionals, while still ensuring the patient’s privacy. This expedites diagnosis and treatment; improves safety through system checks that ensure multiple prescriptions are safe when taken together, such as e-prescribing; and saves money by eliminating paper and reducing duplication of testing.

Bear with me a moment, but this turns out to be very much like Kasich’s Ohio EPA permit fiasco in week one.

Of course, there’s a reason the federal government approved Ohio’s MPIP—the federal government mandated the use of electronic health record (EHR) systems under President Obama’s health care insurance reform law and President Obama’s stimulus package also mandated the widespread use of EHR by 2015.  Just a year ago, the Obama Administration increased the amount of federal funding to help States, like Ohio, to create secure health information exchanges.  What’s amazing is that John Kasich’s Administration has virtually nothing to do with this achievement.  It wasn’t their idea, and wasn’t their plan.  It just happened on its watch.

Governor Strickland was a strong proponent of finally moving Ohio’s health care system forward by promoting the use of EHRs and the development of Health Information Exchanges (HIE).  Governor Strickland spent all four years of his term working to create a Statewide HIE and encourage Medicaid providers to use EHRs.  So when the Obama Administration essentially mandated the use of EHRs by Medicaid providers, the Strickland Administration jumped and submitted the MPIP plan to the federal government that the Kasich Administration is taking credit for.


[UPDATE:] The Ohio Department Jobs and Family Services has confirmed that the application to implement Ohio’s MPIP plan was submitted to the federal government by the Strickland Administration on November 23, 2010.

For all we can tell, all the Kasich Administration did was open the letter from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services informing the State that Strickland’s plan was approved and that they’d be getting stimulus money to pay for it.  Let me recap: the Kasich Administration is quietly accepting the very “one time” stimulus money they blasted the Strickland Administration for taking, to implement a plan drafted by the Strickland Administration and mandated by the Obama Administration while presenting it as their idea all along!

And that’s not all, today Talking Points Memo reported how Kasich quietly went to Washington, with his tin cup in hand, asking Sherrod Brown and the Ohio congressional delegation about whether they would consider extending FMAP (Federal Medical Assistance Percentage)—a federal stimulus program that temporarily increased the federal government’s share of Medicaid expenses.    Yeah, you read that right.  Governor John Kasich went to Washington and asked our Congressional delegation to expand the very federal stimulus programs Kasich relentlessly criticized Strickland for accepting funding from during the campaign.  On top of that, Kasich’s budget still presumes a yet to be promised, let alone delivered, Washington bailout of the State’s interest payments for money the federal government loaned the State to fund its underfunded unemployment insurance funds.

According to page 40 of the Governor’s “Savings” budget book, the Governor zeros out all State funding for Ohio’s federally qualified health centers (i.e.- health clinics for the poor and uninsured) because “[s]ignificant federal funding alternatives exist under the Affordable Care Act that ODH will pursue if needed.”  In other words, “ObamaCare” provides sufficient federal funding for it now that the State no longer has to carry the burden.

John Kasich loves ObamaCare so much he’s taking credit for it and balancing Ohio’s budget using the savings from it while Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine is suing to declare it to be unconstitutional and  Ohio GOP Chairman Kevin DeWine is trying to raise money so the Ohio GOP can adopt the Tea Party’s Ohio constitutional amendment to “exempt” Ohio from “ObamaCare.”

There’s so many layers of political hypocrisy and phony posturing going on in the Ohio Republican Party; I don’t know if we’ll ever fully tap out this well.

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