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.

Meaden & Moore

Lehmans

Knight Foundation


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
Ohio


Leaders discuss two sides of Ohio's Medicaid expansion debate
Jon Allison and Robert Alt discuss funds and employment requirements under Medicaid
by WKSU's STATEHOUSE BUREAU CHIEF KAREN KASLER


Reporter
Karen Kasler
 
Courtesy of Images of Money
Download (WKSU Only)
In The Region:

A coalition of Medicaid supporters has started its petition drive to put the issue before voters if lawmakers don’t expand the program to 275,000 low-income Ohioans as Gov. John Kasich had proposed in his original budget.

Ohio Public Radio’s Karen Kasler sat down with two activists staking out opposing positions in the Medicaid expansion debate.

LISTEN: Karen Kasler reports on Medicaid expansion (Extended)

Other options:
Windows Media / MP3 Download (3:29)


Medicaid expansion supporters have been battling arguments against it for months. One of the main debates is over the $13 billion in federal dollars that they say Ohio could capture over seven years if expansion were in place by Jan. 1.

Jon Allison is the former chief of staff for Republican Gov. Bob Taft. He is now leading a coalition, Healthy Ohioans Work, of supporters in a petition drive to put expansion before voters if state lawmakers don’t approve it. Allison says he understands conservatives who oppose expansion would rather have the state develop its own program to cover the hundreds of thousands of people who could be covered by Medicaid, but he says the reality doesn’t make sense. 

“When Ohio taxpayers, Ohio businesses are on the hook to pay federal fees and taxes to pay for the Affordable Care Act, the thought that we would leave those dollars on the table (and) instead use state tax dollars – I don’t know how I could sell that to the General Assembly.”

Conservatives say there is no table
Robert Alt is the president of the conservative think tank the Buckeye Institute. He's written several position papers on why he thinks Medicaid expansion is a bad idea. And he says the idea that money will be left on the table is an often-repeated fallacy. 

“It’s a matching funds program. There are no funds left on the table. If we don’t expand Medicaid, those funds never get spent -- or quite frankly, they never get borrowed from China. It’s not that they go to California. They just don’t exist.”

Who deserves coverage?
There’s also a concern over who actually would benefit from Medicaid expansion. Alt says it would cover mostly able-bodied men. 

“I find the name of your organization interesting – it’s Healthy Ohioans Work. Well, part of the problem that legislators are confronting is, if we expand Medicaid, we’re not allowed to put work requirements on there. And studies have shown that if we put more people on Medicaid, it will actually take people who are currently working and encourage them not to work.”

Alt says a state-created program would allow Ohio to establish work requirements for people enrolled in it – something that Medicaid won’t permit.

But  Allison says there are discussions of ways to include workforce development in Medicaid expansion. He also says Alt’s conclusion is far-fetched. 

“Respectfully, to paint this as a solution which would essentially incentivize a bunch of under-employed single adults to give up on trying to work and earn a living goes a little too far. I mean, the flip side of that is we have unemployed single adults who would benefit from this, many of whom have health issues that they’re dealing with.”

The voters may decide if lawmakers won't
Allison says the Healthy Ohioans Work coalition, which includes unions, religious, social services and community organizations, and hospitals and business groups, has until late December to gather voter signatures on its petitions. It plans to push ahead with its ballot issue if lawmakers don't act on Medicaid expansion by the end of the year.

Alt says he doesn’t think the coalition is as monolithic as Allison suggests, and that hospitals who would profit from the expansion are the main ones pushing it.  

Here's this week's "State of Ohio" televised panel with Karen Kasler, featuring Allison and Alt.
http://statenews.org/feature_page.cfm?featureID=1 

(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

Ohio's Supreme Court narrowly upholds Ashford Thompson's death sentence
"Justices" William O’Neill, Paul Pfeifer and Judith Lanzinger should all be immediately removed from the court. If they could actually believe that this murde...

Ohio's Sen. Brown is pushing for more assistance for homeless vets
That would be a great program to have for the homeless vets. Many of them are still suffering from PTSD even from the Vietnam war.

Lordstown GM plant plans to install 8,500 solar panels
How much will this solar array cost? How is it being funded, and who is really paying for it? How much real useful electricity will it actually produce in MEh p...

Local Ebola concerns cause officials to pay more attention to West Africa
I have a better idea, let's secure our borders and spend those billions of dollars on our own first.

HUD and Cuyahoga Land Bank extend a housing deal for another year
Need to sale lot, and would like to know how to contact someone to see if they may be interested in the property that sat between two lots. If you can give me...

Akron Beacon Journal details abuse claims against televangelist Angley
In the early 90's I went forth for pray. And the man was anointed by the hand of God. Just a fact I will never forget

Lawmaker questions why a million voters didn't get absentee applications
He's a damn lie! I vote n all elections. I missed 1. Haven't gotten my absentee ballot and their making it hard to get one.

Thirsty Dog Brewery warns it might have to leave Akron
Why is it the city's responsibility to find this guy a location? There are a hundred realestate companies that could help him.

Kent State sends home three after contact with second Ebola-stricken nurse
Why weren't all health workers who were around Duncan quaranteened for 21 days and tested for Ebola? That's a no-brainer. Why was Vinson allowed to travel right...

New book says Willoughby Coal is haunted...and that's good for business
Would love to see a series of books that would just thrill me. I cannot wait to visit some of the locations. And revisit some of the locations I have already vi...

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