Ohio legislature likely to reject governor's Medicaid proposal

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April 29, 2013

Ohio

By Phil Sletten

COLUMBUS, Ohio: The Ohio House of Representatives has rejected the federal government's expansion of Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in a proposed state budget. The Senate shows no signs of reintroducing the proposal in its budget. Instead, Republican state legislators, who control both the upper and lower chambers, have suggested crafting their own proposal.[1][2]

House and Senate Republicans pointed to a lack of information and the questions surrounding the commitment of federal money to the states to pay for the expansion. House Republican majority spokesperson Mike Dittoe noted that, if the federal government did not fulfill its commitment, Ohio would "have people on an assistance program" without external funding for it removed, leaving the state to pay for new medical care commitments. Others disapproved of the plan because it had too few details.[3]

Senate President Keith Faber (R) told The Plain Dealer that he does not "believe Medicaid expansion is on the table as it relates to...the budget," but that the Senate is still interested in some type of Medicaid reform independent of the federal government. Senator Dave Burke (R) will be in charge of a task force on the topic.[1]

Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) announced in February 2013 that he would support Medicaid expansion in Ohio under the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.[4] The federal legislation offers to pay states for the medical insurance offered to newly eligible adults under Medicaid. Medicaid would be expanded to all non-elderly adults with incomes below 133 percent of the federal poverty line. In Ohio, this expansion would make approximately 300,000 more residents eligible for Medicaid, although estimates vary. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the costs of the new recipients in the near-term, phasing down to 90 percent of the costs by 2020.[2][1][5][6] Kasich expressed disappointment in the State House's decision to reject Medicaid expansion, and declared that he would continue to campaign for the expansion. However, a spokesperson for the governor noted that stand-alone legislation may be another avenue to pursue Medicaid reform.[7][1][8]

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