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Health and Medicine


Ohio Republican announces new Medicaid plan
Expands on Gov. Kasich's proposal, which is not expected to pass
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE CORRESPONDENT JO INGLES


Reporter
Jo Ingles
 
In The Region:

Ohio lawmakers considering the proposed two-year budget are not likely to embrace Gov. Kasich’s proposal to expand Medicaid and advocates for Ohio’s poorest citizens continue to push for the expansion. A Republican lawmaker is coming out with a plan that she hopes will be able to provide coverage to more Ohioans by reforming Medicaid.

LISTEN: INGLES ON MEDICAID

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State Representative Barbara Sears says she wants to expand Medicaid.

"So what I’m looking at for the legislation I’ve dropped is to expand the eligibility for Medicaid up to 138 percent and do it in a way that we are going to try to reach certain goals that we’ve been talking about in the healthy Ohio work group," Sears says.

Different than the Gov.'s plan
That work group has been looking at ways to reform Medicaid to make the government program operate more efficiently. Sears says some of the recommendations of that group are included in this expansion plan and adds that’s why it’s different than the one Governor Kasich proposed months ago.

"It’s similar to Governor Kasich’s expansion plan in that it does expand Medicaid up to 138 percent of poverty," Sears says. "It expands on Governor Kasich’s plan because it truly states that we are looking to meet certain markers. We are looking to get 80 percent of eligible Medicaid recipients into our private Medicaid plans so that we are using the resources that our private plans have which is a much better way to try to manage our costs and care than using fee-for-service. Additionally, we are stating in here that we are looking for additional responsibilities, that we are looking at additional abuse programs so we can help them get off. We are looking at trying to promote specific job-training programs where they are available. We are going to try to tie in contractually some kind of process with our managed-care partners that will say, where it’s appropriate, we expect you to make referrals for workforce development for educational employment related opportunities for recipients when they are able to do so."

Sear’s plan has caught the attention of Cathy Levine of the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio.  She has been pushing for the Medicaid expansion Governor Kasich wanted in his budget. 

"We see this as a very promising step forward," Levine says.

'Timing is everything'
Levine says Sears has laid out a way to move this bill forward and she hopes the bill will get serious consideration.

"Timing is everything," Levine says. "We need the legislature to pass authorization by June 30th so that the state has enough time to get the Medicaid expansion up and running by January 2, 2014. So it’s a step that we have a bill but there’s more that needs to happen. We understand other legislators are planning alternate legislation and we need to have the legislation out there, hearings held and a decision made."

Levine says she is feeling cautiously optimistic that Ohio lawmakers will get something done by June 30. Levine already has some idea of how the voting will go. 

"I think at one point the speaker said it’s 20–20-20," Sears says. "20 percent who are for it, 20 percent looking for reasons to be for it and 20 percent absolutely never going to get their arms around doing it.  I think it’s still somewhere around there."

As more Medicaid expansion plans come out, both sides will be scrutinizing them to make sure they provide coverage to the 275,000 low-income Ohioans who need it and to reform Medicaid to make it operate more efficiently.

 

Listener Comments:

I am writing because I feel Medicaid Needs Expanded. I am a person with a Disability and I am on Medicaid but I have staff that work with me who do not have health Insurance. We need to make a effort that people working in low paying jobs can be on Medicaid and pay a sliding Fee Scale
Just like People in Medicaid Buy In do.

I also want people to know that Advocates feel that the Asset Limit for Medicaid Aged, Blind and Disabled need increased from $1'500 to $2'000 because of how their is a Cost of Living Increase every year in Social Security and with costs in Bills increasing the Number needs increased as well again on the Asset Limit


Posted by: Christine (Columbus) on June 2, 2013 5:06AM
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