by Larry Bresler
(Plain Press, June 2017) There has been much publicity about the fight to retain the Affordable Care Act commonly known as Obama Care including Medicaid Expansion. However, the state budget in Ohio currently being determined, is also reviewing Medicaid Expansion and there is a battle to pass it with without cutting people off from coverage.
Medicaid Expansion has provided comprehensive health care services to low income adults below 138% of the poverty line. This means that a single adult making under $16,242 or an adult in a three-person family making under $37,724 are eligible for coverage. It has been a very successful program delivering quality care to 723,000 Ohioans.
Nevertheless, there are efforts in Ohio’s state legislature to make it harder for Ohioans to receive health care through Medicaid Expansion. Passed by the Ohio House of Representatives, and under review by the Senate, is a provision that would require Medicaid enrollees to pay monthly co-pays and would remove recipients from the program for non-payment, or for missing paperwork deadlines. It is estimated this would cut enrollment by 125,000.
Even worse is a provision passed by the House or Representatives that would substantially limit health care coverage to those who are working. Under the budget passed by the House, to qualify for Medicaid Expansion coverage, enrollees would need to meet one of the following requirements: be 55 or older; have “intensive health care needs;” or be either employed, in school, or participating in an alcohol and drug addiction treatment program. Even if you are under 138% of the poverty line, you would not be eligible for Medicaid health coverage, if you did not meet one of those requirements. This would cut enrollment by 100’s of thousands more participants.
Northern Ohioans for Budget Legislation Equality (NOBLE) along with many other groups are fighting these provisions. However, NOBLE needs your help. Calls or emails are needed to flood the President of the Senate, Larry Obhof’s office demanding that Medicaid Expansion be kept as it currently is with no co-pays or work requirements. People should call Senator Obhof at 614-466-7505, or should send emails to him at firstname.lastname@example.org (Senator Obhof’s aide). He needs to hear from you now!