Ohio Senate budget curbs Medicaid expansion

Paterniano Del Favero
Giugno 22, 2017

Advocates for the poor worry a proposed amendment in the Senate budget to would Medicaid expansion enrollments would be a disaster for Ohio's opioid crisis.

Senator Scott Oelslager (R-North Canton), Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee added, "This was a very tight budget, but we listened carefully to Ohioans to understand their priorities and expectations of financial stability for the state of OH".

The Senate plan calls for extending Medicaid expansion for one year. After July 1, 2018, no new enrollees would be accepted and those who dropped off the program by finding better employment would be unable to re-enroll.

Senate Finance Chairman Scott Oelslager, a Canton Republican, said the idea is to be fair to those covered by the program while also thinking of OH taxpayers, The Columbus Dispatch reported.

"The wellbeing of most Ohioans has not been improved appreciably since the Great Recession that took place in 2007 and 2008", state Sen.

Steve Wagner with the Universal Health Care Action Network says numerous Ohioans who have been covered by Medicaid expansion are low-income workers who shift in and out of jobs often.

The U.S. House-passed health care bill would phase out expanded Medicaid, which allows states to provide federally backed insurance to low-income adults previously not eligible.

The Senate version also closes an anticipated $1 billion budget gap through agency cuts, program eliminations and accounting shifts.

The Medicaid Coalition, a group that supports maintaining the expansion, said the Senate amendment "misses the mark". "In addition to the freeze on enrollment, the bill's poorly drafted work requirements will ensure that Ohioans will be cut out of health care coverage without the ability to return as their circumstances change".

Senate approval will send the bill to a conference committee.

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