Medicaid Expansion Freeze Could Gut Ohio's Opioid Fight, New Report Finds

Jun 21, 2017

Nearly 700,000 Ohioans have received healthcare since the Medicaid expansion in 2014.
Credit STATEHOUSE NEWS BUREAU

A new analysis from the Associated Press shows Medicaid expansion accounted for 43 percent of total Ohio Medicaid spending on substance abuse and mental health treatment. Advocates for the poor worry a proposed amendment in the state Senate budget that would end Medicaid expansion enrollment would be a disaster for Ohio’s opioid crisis. 

Steve Wagner with the Universal Health Care Action Network says many of the Ohioans who have been covered by Medicaid expansion are low-income workers who shift in and out of jobs often. He says the freeze on enrollments in Medicaid expansion starting July 1st, 2018 would shut them out. And he says that would be a huge problem when it comes to getting treatment for opioid addicts. 

“There was a lot of impact on opioid-addicted population because of Medicaid, and losing that would be significant damage,” he said.

Numbers from the state show Medicaid expansion has helped a half million Ohioans access substance or mental-health treatment. Last year, $650 million from that pot was spent to prevent and treat opioid addictions.