In 2008, there were 1.1 million Ohioans without health insurance. All these individuals face fines if they do not obtain coverage. Certainly some will obtain insurance as a result of Medicaid expansion or the health insurance subsidies under this plan but there would be some who would not.
What is often overlooked in the discussion of the uninsured is that many choose to go without insurance. In 2008, there were 272,000 Ohioans who live in families making at least three times the poverty level who were uninsured. These families could presumably purchase some form of health insurance if they wanted. They chose to go without for whatever reason. Under the plans moving through Congress, they will be forced to buy a product they presumably do not want or pay high fines. Either way, this legislation will cost them.
Other Ohioans would be targeted for punitive taxes under the both the Senate and House health care bills. There are over 76,000 households that make over $200,000. Many of these would be subject to a new income surtax. The men and women in this income group are business owners and other members who are a vital part of Ohio's economy. Their productivity will be penalized if this legislation becomes law.
Not only would many Ohioans be paying higher federal taxes, this federal legislation will also likely mean state taxes will need to be raised. Both House and Senate bills mandate that the state Medicaid program be expanded, which could mean as many as 519,000 new enrollees in this state. While the federal government would pay much of the cost for this expansion, state taxpayers would be required to fund part of it. One estimate puts that cost at $922 million over five years. With the governor and legislators struggling to find ways to balance the current state budget, it seems likely this new burden will mean even higher state taxes.
Ohioans will also be paying the price of these bills far into the future, as it is almost certain the legislation will add to the deficit. While proponents of the bills moving through Congress say they are "deficit-neutral," independent analyses question this. The only way to assume these bills won't add to the deficit is if the new health care spending stays within projections (something that rarely happens) and that Congress makes the promised future cuts in Medicare (something Congress has repeatedly refused to do).
Go read the whole thing.
The second article deals with possible changes in the prevailing wage laws in Ohio. Developers are asking a Franklin County court to strike down Ohio's prevailing-wage law, saying it is unconstitutional to allow labor unions to determine wages paid on public construction jobs. In a great article, the Institute reports on why ending the prevailing wage law will be a good thing. Here is an excerpt:
The intended purpose of the prevailing wage law is to keep government construction projects from depressing local wages. Its real effect, though, is to increase the cost of these projects to taxpayers since by mandating higher wages than would otherwise be paid and decreasing the number of bids for the project. Taxpayer-funded construction could be done for less money if this law was repealed, helping both local governments and the state during this period of severely decreased tax revenue.
Not only are taxpayers hurt, but so, too, are the companies which unintentionally violate the law's complex regulations. There are many instances of companies filing complaints against other businesses in order to stifle competition...
...This political jockeying could be ended if the prevailing wage law were repealed. Businesses would no longer have to worry about unintentionally violating the law. And with the increased competition on government construction projects and the ability of local governments to accept the lowest bid for these projects, taxpayers would see significant savings.
This law's repeal would be a winning proposition for most Ohioans. Some businesses would no longer be as competitive for these contracts, though, and some union bosses would no longer have the leverage they possess today. Protecting inefficient businesses and the power of Big Labor should not be a priority for Ohio's legislators, though.
Go check it out for some great facts and background.