The Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio) responded to Governor John Kasich’s official refusal to implement a state Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) exchange with a combination of disappointment and denial. UHCAN Ohio Executive Director Cathy Levine, who also serves as co-chair of the progressive group’s Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage (OCHC) campaign, disregards state and federal budget realities in her continuous advocacy for PPACA.
“Millions of Ohioans are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act and affordable health care is around the corner for hundreds of thousands more Ohioans when the law is fully implemented in 2014,” Levine and OCHC co-chair Col Owens said in a release UHCAN Ohio published on November 19. “The Exchange and Medicaid expansion are two critical pieces of assuring that all Ohioans have insurance coverage.”
Multiple studies have detailed the expected negative impacts of PPACA in Ohio. However, as UHCAN Ohio’s name would suggest, the group lobbies for socialized medicine and thus supports PPACA’s massive government takeover of the health insurance industry regardless of the cost.
“Given the lack of opportunity for consumer input at the state level and the Administration’s resistance to the consumer protections, we are likely better off with a large federal role in Ohio’s Exchange at this point,” Levine and Owens said before bizarrely claiming, “However, there is bi-partisan support across the range of stakeholders for the state to operate the Exchange so this decision may and can evolve over time.”
UHCAN Ohio did not list the supposed Republican supporters of enabling PPACA by creating a state-run exchange. As Cato Institute health policy expert Michael F. Cannon and Case Western Reserve University professor Jonathan Adler have argued extensively, PPACA cannot function with federally-managed exchanges because the law does not allow the federal government to issue tax credits.
A post-election Kaiser Family Foundation poll indicated that only 49 percent of Americans want to see PPACA expanded or implemented as-is, with just 43 percent of those polled expressing a generally favorable view of the law. Additionally, the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment approved 66 – 34 percent in November 2011 renders a state-run exchange illegal in Ohio.
Following President Obama’s reelection, UHCAN Ohio was enthusiastic about the full implementation of PPACA. In a November 7 release, Levine and Owens said, “The end of the election clears the way for implementation of the law at the state and federal levels including expanding Medicaid eligibility and establishing an insurance marketplace where Ohioans can buy coverage using tax credits that make insurance more affordable.”
Ohio officials estimate that PPACA will increase the state’s annual Medicaid costs by more than $300 million by 2014 even without the eligibility expansion UHCAN Ohio desires.
In August, Levine wrote, “In Ohio, those who are currently ineligible for Medicaid include parents with incomes above 90% FPL and non-disabled adults without minor children. They will all become eligible for Medicaid – more than half of Ohio’s 1.5 million uninsured. And the federal government pays 100% for the newly eligible people for 3 years, gradually reducing their contribution down to 90% in 2020 – a huge bargain!”
At publication, the national debt exceeds $16.3 trillion. Aside from bromides about hiking taxes on the wealthy and cost savings due to preventative care, UHCAN Ohio has no explanation for how America can afford PPACA.
The November 19 response to Kasich’s refusal to implement a PPACA exchange included a list of OCHC partners. OCHC consists of numerous organizations reliant of government health care spending, plus the usual who’s-who of labor unions and union-funded progressive groups.
“Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage is a nonpartisan coalition uniting the diverse consumer voice with the goal of achieving affordable, high quality health care for all,” UHCAN Ohio claimed.
“Our membership includes AFSCME Council 8 AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans in Ohio, American Cancer Society East Central Division, Contact Center, Faith Community Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, National Alliance for Mental Illness of Ohio, National Multiple Sclerosis Society Ohio Chapters, Ohio Asian American Health Coalition, The Ohio Association of Centers for Independent Living, Ohio Council of Churches, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Progress Ohio, Service Employees International Union District 1199, Toledo Area Jobs with Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1059, UHCAN Ohio, and We Are The Uninsured.”
In addition to the unions listed in bold, ProgressOhio is heavily union funded and “Toledo Area Jobs with Justice” is a branch of union front Jobs with Justice. Alliance for Retired Americans is another union lobbying group.
As Media Trackers has reported, AFSCME Council 8 is a public employee union which agitated for PPACA and then promptly received a waiver from one of the law’s many expensive mandates.
In October, UHCAN Ohio published a summary of a study from left-wing think tank Families USA cheering the “tax cut for American families” represented by PPACA tax credits. Consistent with other UHCAN Ohio, OCHC, and Families USA rhetoric, the study ignored Cannon and Adler’s explanation that PPACA only allows credits through exchanges managed by states. Likewise, the socialized medicine advocates conflated the massive new entitlement program’s insurance credits with “access to quality, affordable health care.”
“As this key provision of the Affordable Care Act takes effect, millions of Americans will be given the peace of mind and stability that comes with knowing they have access to quality, affordable health care that they can depend on,” Families USA wrote.