Has the entitlement mentality entirely wiped common sense from the minds of some people, including a few in Ohio? Apparently so, to judge by criticism of Gov. John Kasich's reluctance to go along with the national health care law's mandate regarding Medicaid.
Part of "Obamacare," the health care statute, orders states to expand their Medicaid programs to cover anyone earning 133 percent of the federal poverty level or less. President Barack Obama and liberals in Congress, aware leaders in many states would balk, eschewed a "carrot" approach for what they hoped would be a powerful "stick" to force states to go along.
States refusing to expand Medicaid would lose some, perhaps all, of the federal money they now receive for the program, the law stipulates. But the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled Washington cannot withhold Medicaid funding to enforce its requirement.
In effect, that leaves the decision on whether to boost Medicaid enrollment up to the states. Kasich has said he is concerned Ohio's budget may not be able to withstand such a blow.
Already, the governor has been targeted by a firestorm of criticism. One published complaint was that Kasich may pass up "the free money the federal government is offering" for Medicaid.
No, we didn't make that up. Apparently some people still believe in Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy - and "free money" from Washington.
The writer apparently referred to the Obamacare provision that the cost of expanding state Medicaid programs will be paid by the federal government for the first three years.
After that, however, Medicaid would go back to the current formula of states and the federal government sharing program expenses. In other words, if Kasich and legislators go along with the Medicaid expansion, Ohioans would have to find nearly a billion dollars a year more to fund the program after the first three years.
"Free money"? Even if federal funding grew on trees rather than being wrenched out of the pockets of taxpayers, that contention would be absurd. Kasich and conservative lawmakers are absolutely right to worry about the effect on the state budget of obeying Obamacare's mandate to expand the Medicaid program.