FACT CHECK: Medicaid rose 2x faster w/ Jeb Bush

Posted at 1:58 PM, Feb 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-17 18:03:04-05

In a quote from, Ohio Governor John Kasich said when Jeb Bush was governor his first four years, his Medicaid program grew twice as fast as his. said every Republican presidential candidate opposes Obamacare, but Kasich stands out for being the only one who took advantage of the program’s Medicaid expansion option. Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush wasn’t going to let that choice go unnoticed. Bush touted his opposition to expansion in Florida during a debate in South Carolina.

Florida’s Medicaid budget did rise rapidly during Bush’s first term, according to, and largely due to more spending on long-term care. An Urban Institute report in 2002 said that as Bush took office, Florida had "a full-blown crisis" in nursing homes.

Ohio did many things directly to rein in Medicaid spending, reported. Amy Rohling McGee, president of the Health Policy Institute of Ohio, told us that Kasich focused on chronic illnesses, like asthma, and long-term care. McGee said administration policies played a significant role in trimming the rise in Medicaid costs, but she also noted that other trends were at play.

However, warned that comparisons across very different states at very different times should be used with caution. Large national trends in health care inflation and the economy played a significant role in Medicaid spending in both states. Bush in Florida faced higher health care inflation and an economic slump. Ohio saw an easing of health care spending and an improving labor market.

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