April 8, 2013
TO: Members of the Republican Caucus
Ohio House of Representatives
FROM: Tom Zawistowski
Candidate for Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party
RE: Your Vote on Medicaid Expansion and the Budget
With the possibility of being the next Chairman of the Ohio Republican Party, I feel obligated to write to you at this critical time about Medicaid Expansion. Despite Governor Kasich’s best intentions, and the concern we all share for those citizens among us who need our help, it is my concern that voting on Medicaid Expansion at this time could be devastating to our chances as a party, and your chances specifically, in the 2014 elections.
As we were all expecting, the entire ObamaCare bill is half baked at best and is wrought with contradiction and missing details. It is in effect being made up as it goes along. The Medicaid Expansion is more of the same. No one knows how many people will go on it, what it will cost, or how they can be best served. Things are further complicated by the “need” for some of this money to help balance the Governor’s budget in the midst of proposed tax cuts, tax increases and additional spending – all of which is also unpopular among key constituents. We must remember that we are under no timeline that requires us to act on Medicaid at this time.
The reasons not to act on Medicaid Expansion, by which our voters mean not taking even one dollar of new Federal money to grow citizen dependency on government programs, are literally overwhelming. You can start with the fact that, while the “carrot” in this deal is the “promise” that the Federal Government will pay 100% of the cost through 2016 and 90% after that until 2022, our own National Republican Party position, based on the Ryan Budget that was recently passed in the US House, specifically calls for the “defunding of ObamaCare” with the ultimate goal of the “Repeal of ObamaCare” because it will destroy our economy. Meeting our national goal would in effect defund the Medicaid Expansion and leave Ohio taxpayers holding the bag, which begs the question of why we are we even considering doing this.
Even if we are not ultimately successful in repealing ObamaCare at the national level, and the Federal Government miraculously lives up to its “promise”, the Heritage Foundation still projects that by 2022 Ohio tax payers will be picking up a billion dollars per year in new taxes. (See Chart) This does not even take into account the fact that the Federal Government is broke and every dollar of this “promise” is borrowed or printed and the very program at the core of this, Medicaid, is “unsustainable.”
We must also consider:
• The fact that the hospitals, which will be one of the two biggest beneficiaries of this expansion, cannot prove their case that they will somehow be financially damaged if Medicaid Expansion does not happen.
Clearly Expanding Medicaid at this time is something that Republicans should be very leery of doing. I therefore urge you to be cautious moving forward. It’s been strongly suggested, by experts who have studied the issue closely, that the House pass a “status quo budget”, in order to have the time to sort out these important issues. Since you are required by law to pass a balanced budget, they suggest that you pass a continuance of last year’s budget, then get with the Governor and the Senate to rework the Governor’s proposal for consideration, say in September or later. This will provide the necessary time for the Federal Government to clarify its “rules” while we also take advantage of additional research from all sides that will paint a clearer picture of the proper course.
We must all remember, that those in need in Ohio who are under existing Medicaid are already being provided care above current federal standards, and that we spend more per person than many other states. We must also remember that passing a “status quo budget” will not leave the low income individuals who would be covered under Medicaid Expansion unprotected as many other state programs are already servicing these individuals.
I hope this email brings some clarity to the discussion and helps you with a solution that is acceptable not only to you but to your constituents back home. Let me close by saying, this is a historic vote because it is my belief that passing Medicaid Expansion, or anything like it, will drive the entire grass roots movement out of our party and lead to a creation of a new third party. In a recent article the Cook Report, suggested that 2014 is shaping up to be another referendum on ObamaCare. We must be on the right side of that vote; we must also hold the coalitions of our Party together. If I am elected Chairman, I can bring the social conservatives back and hold the fiscal conservative and grass roots members together with the critical moderate Republican base, as long as we listen to our coalition partners and keep our promises to them. That is the real task at hand and I trust that you will vote appropriately.