Ohio lawmakers are scheduled to hear more details about how several proposals would change the Medicaid health program for the poor and disabled.

One bill before a House committee would expand the program's eligibility, while another would roll it back for certain people, such as parents and pregnant women. The measures' sponsors are expected to testify on their plans this morning.

A Senate committee also is scheduled to hear initial testimony on a bill creating an oversight body to keep Medicaid growth in check.

The Federal health care Marketplace is set to open for business Tuesday, Oct. 1, and open enrollment will last for six months. Most people who can’t get employer insurance will be required to sign up for health plans under the Affordable Care Act, or pay a fee. But there’s still a lot of confusion about what exactly this will mean for the uninsured — about 1.5 million people in Ohio.

A coalition of backers of Medicaid expansion has started its petition drive to put the issue before voters if lawmakers don’t expand the program to 275,000 low income Ohioans as Gov. John Kasich had proposed in his original budget.

Medicaid expansion supporters have been battling arguments against it for months. But one of the main debates is over the $13 billion in federal dollars that they say Ohio could capture over seven years if expansion were in place by January 1.

As lawmakers prepare to come back to the Statehouse after summer break, they’re readying for big discussions on Medicaid – there are at least four bills dealing with Medicaid reform or expansion. Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler talked with the only Republican lawmaker who’s come out in support of expanding Medicaid to 275-thousand low-income Ohioans.

Flickr Creative Commons Unser 401(K)2013

The discussion over extending Medicaid came to Dayton this week. Members of the Ohio Senate Finance Subcommittee came to CareSource to hear how Medicaid expansion would affect Ohioans and the state’s bottom line. Emily McCord speaks with WYSO's economics reporter, Lewis Wallace, who reports that health care advocates point to a study that shows Ohio can expand Medicaid while saving money at the same time.

State lawmakers exploring possible changes to Ohio's health care system are expected to hear from a health plan on Tuesday.

The Senate's Medicaid subcommittee will meet in Dayton at CareSource, one of the largest Medicaid managed care plans in the country.

Topics at the field hearing will include payment reform and behavioral health integration.

The Senate panel traveled to Cleveland last week to see how a mini-Medicaid expansion model works at MetroHealth Medical Center.

Ohio Lawmaker Wants to Cut Medicaid Eligibility to Federal Minimum

Aug 26, 2013

While Governor John Kasich says he’s working with lawmakers to expand Medicaid to more Ohioans,  one legislator is proposing a plan that would dramatically cut eligibility. The representative says that it’s time for Ohio to reduce the participants in what he calls a corrupt system.

“My question has been ‘why are we spending a lot of taxpayer money for an inefficient and ineffective program that’s well above federal minimums.’”

That’s why Representative John Becker of southwest Ohio wants to cut eligibility rates down to the minimum that federal law requires.

Ed Fitzgerald (left) has had a difficult campaign for governor, and has fallen far behind incumbent John Kasich in the polls.
Emily McCord / WYSO

The Democrat challenging Governor John Kasich is taking his message on the road. As WYSO’s Emily McCord reports Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald was in Dayton Wednesday to talk about women’s issues and the state budget.

Medicaid rally participants 2013
Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

Hundreds of advocates for low income Ohioans packed into the Statehouse on Tuesday for a rally to urge lawmakers to expand Medicaid.  It’s the latest in an ongoing fight between Republican legislative leaders who don’t want to expand Medicaid and Governor Kasich, who backs the idea.   But Democratic State Representative Mike Foley says the Governor needs to do more to get majority lawmakers to pass Medicaid expansion now.

State lawmakers in Ohio are on summer break. But that's not keeping supporters of expanding the Medicaid program from rallying at the Statehouse.

Republican Gov. John Kasich has planned to appear at a Tuesday afternoon event.  Kasich proposed extending Medicaid coverage to more low-income Ohioans, though GOP leaders dropped it from the state budget that passed in June.

Legislators say they'll continue to try to find common ground on how to proceed with the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled people.