Medicaid

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. 

Tea party activists in Ohio want to use a unique weapon to fight continued efforts to expand Medicaid: the Internal Revenue Service.

In a confidential email sent to fellow Ohio tea party leaders and obtained by The Associated Press, Tom Zawistowski lays out a strategy for invoking a little-known IRS provision that allows citizens to challenge executive salaries and the nonprofit statuses of charitable hospitals.

In a phone interview, Zawistowski calls it "hilarious" that tea party groups that came under extra scrutiny by the IRS are now using an IRS law to target others.

Karen Kasler, Ohio Public Radio

After months of discussion and debate and several days of lingering questions, the state has a new two-year, $62 billion budget. The signing came with just hours to go before the new fiscal year.

The budget includes a gradual income tax cut over three years for everyone, a 50 percent income tax cut for small businesses, an increase in the state sales tax along with an expansion to digital downloads and magazine subscriptions, and some property tax changes. Gov. John Kasich said he was pleased with it, though it didn’t include his proposed Medicaid expansion.

The committee working out the differences between the House and Senate versions of the state budget now has updated estimates on tax revenues and Medicaid. Those numbers were higher than estimates, but they came with a caution.

The Office of Budget and Management estimates $709 million more in tax revenues above the original forecast, but budget director Tim Keen says after payments to the federal government for unemployment benefits, transfers to the rainy day fund and other issues are paid, there will only be about $397 million extra to do more tax cuts or spending.

An Ohio legislative committee is scheduled to hear two Medicaid proposals today as lawmakers try to find common ground on changes to the health program.

One bill is aimed at curbing Medicaid costs and making the program more efficient while neither expanding it or cutting beneficiaries. The bipartisan bill's sponsors have described the legislation as a starting point for discussions.

Ohio lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan proposal aimed at curbing Medicaid costs as they try to find common ground on the issue.

The measure introduced Thursday in the House and Senate offers broad ideas with few details, while neither expanding the health program nor cutting beneficiaries.

Sponsors say it's a starting point for discussions in both chambers.

The proposal instructs the state's Medicaid director to limit the growth of the program's costs in way that would improve the physical and mental health of recipients.

Supporters of expanding the Medicaid program to include more low-income people are urging Ohio lawmakers to restore the proposal to the state budget.

The group Advocates for Ohio's Future said Tuesday that it's open to separate legislation that achieves the same goal, as long as it's passed by June 30, the same deadline the budget faces.

The governor's budget proposal called for an expansion of Medicaid under the federal health care law. But the Legislature has largely kept the idea separate from the budget bill. 

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