Medicaid Budget Requires Personal Responsibility

Top officials from Ohio’s health and human services agencies recently testified before the House Finance Committee to discuss their state budget proposals. Greg Moody, Director of the Office of Health Transformation, gave an overview of proposed changes to the departments of Medicaid, Health, Job and Family Services, Mental Health and Addiction Services, Developmental Disabilities, Opportunities for Ohioans with Disabilities, and Aging. The budget includes a number of provisions that could impact physicians and other healthcare entities. 

Much of the presentation focused on changes to Ohio’s Medicaid system. The Finance Committee members asked questions about overall Medicaid spending growth, the new proposal requiring Medicaid enrollees who earn between 100-138% of the Federal Poverty Level to pay premiums, and the overall goal of lifting people “up and out” of poverty. Ohio Medicaid provides healthcare coverage for very low-income individuals who otherwise would be uninsured. Some require ongoing assistance related to a disability or other health condition that prevents them from being able to work. But for many, Medicaid meets a temporary need as they work or move up and out of poverty. Governor John Kasich's Blueprint for a New Ohio supports an individual's personal journey to self-sufficiency by encouraging personal responsibility. To see an overview of the proposed personal responsibility requirements, click here.

Gov. Kasich’s third biennial budget request includes a recommended $38.1 billion General Revenue Fund Medicaid program appropriation that would cover Ohioans earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level in fiscal year 2016-2017. For Medicaid expansion to continue it will require the approval of the General Assembly through the upcoming budget process. Although the governor has the authority to set Medicaid eligibility parameters, ultimately legislative approval will be necessary to accept federal funds to cover the cost of expansion. The legislature will have to authorize additional funding for the program. The federal government pays 100% of costs incurred by the new Medicaid population through 2016; however, beginning in 2017 this payment will decrease to 95%, which will require additional state spending to cover the expansion. 

The AMCNO is a member of the Northeast Ohio Health Action Council (NEOHAC), which was formerly known as NEOMEC (Northeast Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition). This group continues to be active in our region and also works with the statewide coalition to support the continuation of Medicaid coverage for the thousands of individuals who became covered under the Medicaid program following the Medicaid expansion. The AMCNO and NEOHAC are meeting with legislators over the next two weeks to further discuss these issues. 

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

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