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Largest Medicaid Plan in Ohio Gives Max Donation to DeWine Inauguration

Mike DeWine
Mike DeWine / Getty Images
• February 6, 2019 4:55 am

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Caresource Ohio and Caresource Management Group Co., the largest Medicaid plan in Ohio and second largest in the United States, each gave $10,000 to Gov. Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Jon Husted for inauguration related events and transition expenses, according to the Ohio’s Secretary of State Office.

In the past, DeWine vilified Medicaid expansion as "financially unsustainable." While on the campaign trail, Dewine suddenly went back on his comments and even pushed for Medicaid’s "financially unsustainable" expansion.

Nearly three quarters (72 percent) of all federal funds Ohio receives are for Medicaid. Dayton-based CareSource is an insurer that primarily manages private Medicaid policies and has financially benefited from Ohio’s rapid expansion of Medicaid. The insurer earned $7.2 billion in revenue in 2016, an increase of about 4 percent from 2015. What’s more, the largest check the state of Ohio writes each year goes to CareSource.

In a statement to the Dayton Daily News, CareSource Ohio market president Steven Ringel said the insurer has long been a supporter of the governor and lieutenant governor’s inaugural activities fund.

"The Governor’s office plays an important role in the success of our state. The decisions at the state level affect millions of Ohioans especially those served through government programs. We look forward to partnering with this administration to continue providing access to care, while serving more than 1.3 million Ohioans," Ringel said.

Some fear that CareSource’s lofty donation may be influencing DeWine’s Medicaid policy.

Former U.S. Senate candidate Melissa Ackison has experienced the unintended consequences of Medicaid expansion as a private citizen and as a small business owner.

"Given the fact that my family and I lived through the nightmarish cycle of Obamacare from its inception and are intimately familiar with the Medicaid expansion and the dangers not only to reckless spending but to the stagnation of the workforce, it’s very frustrating to see the level of support that a third-party administrator is giving to a campaign," she said in an email.

Today, 56 percent of the nearly 3 million people on Medicaid in Ohio are covered by CareSource. Just this past year, the Ohio Hospital Association noted many issues the hospital lobbying group was working through with CareSource: "policy discrepancies, claim processing breakdowns, inappropriate denials, authorization issues surrounding medical treatment and failure to communicate effectively with Ohio providers." According to Patrick Stephan, Ohio Medicaid’s managed care director, CareSource was fined and penalized $786,879 for "payment issues."

Daniel Tierney, press secretary for the governor, could not be reached for comment.

Published under: Medicaid