News
News Home
Quick Bites
Exploradio
News Archive
News Channel
Special Features
NPR
nowplaying
On AirNewsClassical
Loading...
  
School Closings
WKSU Support
Funding for WKSU is made possible in part through support from the following businesses and organizations.

Akron General

Meaden & Moore

Lehmans


For more information on how your company or organization can support WKSU, download the WKSU Media Kit.

(WKSU Media Kit PDF icon )


Donate Your Vehicle to WKSU

Programs Schedule Make A Pledge Member BenefitsFAQ/HelpContact Us
Economy and Business


Ohio lawmakers explore their Medicaid expansion options
If Medicaid expansion isn't in the state budget, it could end up on the state ballot
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 
Ohio Senate Pres. Keith Faber says Republicans are looking at alternatives to expand Medicaid.
Courtesy of State of Ohio
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

Ohio’s lawmakers are studying ways to change Ohio’s Medicaid program so that it can operate efficiently under new federal standards. But there’s a disagreement on how to do that.

Gov. John Kasich wants to expand Medicaid as part of the state budget so thousands of low-income Ohioans can get medical care, but that doesn’t look likely.

Ohio Public Radio’s Jo Ingles looks at what other options lawmakers are considering.

INGLES: On Medicaid expansion options 101

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (4:17)


If you talk to Republican Senate President Keith Faber, he’ll tell you up front that he doesn’t think the current Medicaid program works well.  And he’s not alone.

Republican lawmakers who lead the House and Senate don’t want to expand Medicaid as part of the Ohio budget. Many say they don’t want to throw good money into what they consider a flawed government program.

So the lawmakers are asking the federal government for a waiver to give the state more flexibility to “reform” the program. Sen. Faber says lawmakers are not saying "no" to Medicaid expansion; they are saying no to it as part of the new two-year state budget. 

“We believe that there’s a path to Medicaid reforms that covers people who need it in the short term while reducing costs in the long term,” Faber said.  “Any Medicaid proposal must include systemic Medicaid reform and flexibility from the federal government that allows us to have a system that works for Ohio. Preferably this is a reform that allows us to provide more services to more individuals for less money.

Buy private insurance 
Faber and Republican lawmakers would like to see a plan that allows low-income Ohioans to use federal dollars to purchase health coverage through private insurers rather than simply enroll in the current Medicaid program.
Backers of governor's plan to expand Medicaid say it would extend the federal health care coverage to 366,000 low-income, working Ohioans who do not have health coverage. 

Cassandra Barham of Cincinnati is one of the people who might benefit.  She says she cannot afford health insurance now.
She is getting  treatment for her high blood pressure -- in the least cost effective way— in a hospital emergency room instead of a doctor’s office or medical clinic.

“I really avoid going until I need to and that’s not fair,” Barham, “because when I go in, they already know my blood pressure is high.  And they won’t take care of me.”

Pressure from care-givers
Doctors and hospital groups say they want Medicaid expansion to include people like Barham. Hospitals, in particular, fear that if that expansion doesn’t happen, their federal reimbursements will decrease in the future, forcing hospitals, especially those in rural areas, to close. 

John Begala with the Center for Community Solutions is one of the people who has been leading the charge for Medicaid expansion as part of the state budget. But he says he’s realistic; if that doesn’t happen, he says it could work the way state lawmakers are trying to do it. 


“We are quite supportive and very flexible on this,” Begala said. “And as early as last summer, our organization was promoting looking at options that include market-based options." Still, he says, "I think what the Kasich administration is pursuing makes a lot of sense. It makes special sense for Ohio.”

Patience, but not to default
Still, Begala says while his group is giving lawmakers time to make the changes they want, he’s not willing to wait forever. He says if they don’t do it by the end of this year, his group is looking at another alternative— letting Ohio voters decide whether to expand Medicaid. 

“We’ve retained legal counsel to advise us on the process of getting to the ballot, either through initiative or referendum in a statutory or constitutional change,” Begala said. 

If it does come down to that, Begala has reason to hope Medicaid expansion will pass at the ballot box. A recent Columbus Dispatch poll shows Ohioans approve of expanding Medicaid 62 to 29 percent.

But those who don’t like the idea of Medicaid expansion say a vote by Ohioans two years ago proves otherwise. That’s when Ohioans voted, nearly two to one, for a constitutional amendment, proclaiming the state is exempt from the new federal mandate that virtually everyone has insurance.

(Click image for larger view.)

Add Your Comment
Name:

Location:

E-mail: (not published, only used to contact you about your comment)


Comments:




 
Page Options

Print this page

E-Mail this page / Send mp3

Share on Facebook




Stories with Recent Comments

From warehouse to writer: Terry Pluto's Thanksgiving thank you
Dear Terry: On my 8th cup of coffee trying to get Thanksgiving "Brunch" done ahead of time because I work nights. However, I just had to stop to contact yo...

The first big private gift comes in for the pro football HOF project
The HOF has needed a shot in the arm for many years and this project will go a long way to getting the attraction the attention it deserves (next: upgrad...

Environmental study nears completion in East Liverpool
Twenty years ago my twin sister and I protested the building and operation of the WTI facility citing several studies that indicated the risk of cancer due to ...

HOF's Canton expansion could take an island and make it a village
I live in the block from Broad St to the Hall of Fame and will be impacted by the expansion. I am in the process of selling my home and planned to long before i...

Cleveland redeploys police to replace rejected red-light traffic cameras
Periodic rotational enforcement without warning does NOT change behavior and the city officials know that. This is the basis of all officer-run enforcement trap...

New enrollment period offers more insurance options
The removal of federal funding for healthcare CO-OPs may limit the growth of the CO-OP movement. http://www.healthcaretownhall.com/?p=6381

The family of Boardman vet killed in Vietnam receives his medals
My name is Mike Eisenbraun. I am Larry's brother. I was 14 years old when Larry was killed in Vietnam. He has been gone for 46 years but it seems like yester...

Cleveland seniors are creating new wealth -- and facing new challenges
Why is anyone surprised that we people over 65 are not retiring? If you have been paying attention, defined company funded pensions were phasing out in the eigh...

Ohio company cuts off a dairy supplier after allegations of animal abuse
these people should be held accountable for their actions. i would be more than pleased to see a year or more behind bars. i will NEVER eat anything that comes ...

Copyright © 2014 WKSU Public Radio, All Rights Reserved.

 
In Partnership With:

NPR PRI Kent State University

listen in windows media format listen in realplayer format Car Talk Hosts: Tom & Ray Magliozzi Fresh Air Host: Terry Gross A Service of Kent State University 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. NPR Senior Correspondent: Noah Adams Living on Earth Host: Steve Curwood 89.7 WKSU | NPR.Classical.Other smart stuff. A Service of Kent State University