The Ohio Senate is poised to vote on a state budget that will take reliable, quality healthcare away from Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens. In a disappointing move, the version of the budget pending before the Senate proposes to freeze enrollment in the Medicaid expansion program, and includes unclear work requirements for participation in the Medicaid program. These measures ensure that Ohioans will lose health care coverage without the ability to regain it as their circumstances change.
Call your State Senator NOW (click here to find their phone number) before the Senate votes today and say, “please oppose the provisions in the state budget that freeze enrollment in Medicaid expansion and reduce funding for HIV prevention and education”.
As a result of these proposed changes, hundreds of thousands of Ohioans will lose access to primary, preventive, and behavioral health care over the next biennium. At a time when Ohio faces an opiate epidemic and tough economic times, the Senate version of the bill creates additional barriers for Ohioans needing care. The bill also includes language added by the House that reduces funding for HIV prevention and education.
The bill includes language that—
- As of July 1, 2018, freezes enrollment in the Medicaid expansion program and prohibits those who exceed the income eligibility limit from re-enrolling in the Medicaid expansion program. This is problematic because members of this group move above and below the income eligibility threshold due to changes in working hours, seasonal employment, etc. This provision will jeopardize coverage for the 750,000 Ohioans who get their health insurance through the Medicaid expansion program.
- Requires the Ohio Department of Medicaid to resubmit the Healthy Ohio waiver that contains harmful conditions, including cost sharing, that many individuals will be unable to meet, endangering their enrollment in Medicaid.
- Requires individuals covered by the Medicaid expansion program to be working or in school, unless they fall into one of three narrow exemption categories. The philosophy espoused in the language does not take into consideration those who are actively seeking work or on a waiting list for an alcohol or drug treatment program. By not including those vulnerable Ohioans, this budget leaves their health care needs untreated and with no choice but to end up in an emergency department, raising uncompensated costs and, by extension, costs on all taxpayers.
Each of these provisions is individually harmful. Taken together, this budget will eliminate access to health care for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans who currently rely on the Medicaid program for basic health care needs, specialized health care, chronic physical and mental health diagnoses, and drug and alcohol addictions.
Please call your state Senator this morning to encourage him or her to oppose these harmful and punitive measures. Your message is simple: “please oppose the provisions in the state budget that freeze enrollment in Medicaid expansion and reduce funding for HIV prevention and education”.