Ohio House Chooses to Override Several Budget Vetoes; Medicaid Freeze Not Included

The House recently voted to override 11 of Gov. John Kasich’s 47 line-item vetoes in the biennial budget bill (HB 49); not among the vetoes, however, was the governor’s elimination of a provision that would freeze new enrollment in the Medicaid expansion group on July 1, 2018. The AMCNO applauds this decision. As reported in a previous article, the AMCNO attended a Medicaid rally at the Statehouse to show support of preserving the Medicaid expansion.

Of note, the legislative rebuff of the governor’s changes to the budget marked the first time the House has voted to override multiple vetoes from a governor in forty years.

Following are some of the 11 provisions that will become law if the Senate also agrees to override the governor’s vetoes:

  • The state Controlling Board, a legislative spending oversight panel, is not permitted to approve unexpected revenue influxes of more than 0.5% of the general revenue fund, or about $165 million.
  • The Department of Medicaid is prohibited from covering any new, optional groups unless expressly permitted by state law.
  • The Department of Medicaid must get approval from the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee, a legislative panel, for an increase in payment rates.
  • The state must set Medicaid rates for certain neonatal and newborn services at 75% of Medicare rates. And, rates for other services must be reduced to avoid an overall increase in Medicaid spending.
  • A funding formula change provides another $237 million for nursing homes. Supporters say this eliminates a potential cut.
  • Nursing homes could not be added to Medicaid managed care unless approved by the General Assembly. A study committee will look into the merits of moving them into managed care.
  • The administration must get Controlling Board approval to cover the state share of Medicaid expansion.

Although the House did not vote on the Medicaid freeze at this time, they can still do so at any time until the end of this General Assembly, which would be in 2018.  

Medicaid Director Barbara Sears held a meeting last week for the Ohio Medicaid Coalition, of which the AMCNO is a long-time member, to discuss the changes. To learn more and read a summary of the Ohio Medicaid appropriation from the Office of Health Transformation, click here.

The AMCNO will continue to work with area organizations and the legislature on this issue and report back to our members as new information becomes available.

The Pollen Line is now closed. See you in the spring!

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