Medicaid

Kasich Defends Medicaid Decision in Cleveland

Apr 4, 2013

Gov. John Kasich has been pitching his budget proposals throughout the state in a bid to win over Republican support. The governor made an impassioned plea for expanding Medicaid coverage in a speech at the City Club of Cleveland.

Kasich’s bid to expand the Medicaid program to cover about 450,000 additional Ohioans is troublesome to many Republicans.

The expansion is part of the federal healthcare reform law that Republicans oppose. Many see it as an eventual cost burden for the state. 

Debate continues over Ohio Governor John Kasich’s proposed expansion of Medicaid - outlined in his state budget plan last month.  Conservatives say its big government - Democrats like increased medical coverage for the poor and disabled. As WYSO's Jerry Kenney reports, both pros and cons surrounding the expansion will affect services provided by local medical professionals and organizations.

The latest Quinnipiac University poll shows 48 percent of Ohio voters agree with Republican Governor Kasich’s plan to expand Medicaid in the buckeye state while 42 percent oppose the idea. 

But when the poll is broken down into party affiliations, Democrats support it 71 percent to 22 percent and Independents support it 48 to 43 percent. 

Ohio's Republican governor is supporting the expansion of Medicaid, one of the biggest government programs.

While that appears to be a contradiction in terms for a conservative governor who's rejected federal stimulus money, it's on point with the matter-of-fact approach of Gov. John Kasich.

Kasich proposed expanding Medicaid under the federal law in his two-year budget plan Monday. He's framed the decision as recapturing Ohio taxpayers' federal money.

Ohio is closer to replacing an outdated system that's known for rejecting eligible people from the Medicaid program.

Officials said Wednesday the state will contract with Accenture LLC for a new system that will help determine eligibility for programs across Ohio's health and human services agencies.

The announcement comes as the governor wants to expand the federal-state Medicaid program to cover more low-income people.

- TAX CUTS: Reduces small business taxes by 50 percent, cuts state income tax by 20 percent over three years, and decreases sales tax from 5.5 percent to 5 percent.

Ohio is prepared to move forward with certain Medicaid contracts after an appellate court ruled in the state's favor in a lawsuit that had blocked officials from signing the agreements.

Amerigroup Corp. had sued the state, claiming the contract application process was flawed. The insurer was not among the top scorers.

The contract winners will provide health care services to 1.6 million Ohioans on Medicaid. The contracts provide billions in government work to the winning companies.

A group of governors from both major political parties met with President Obama and other White House officials today, to talk about the impact the so-called “fiscal cliff” could have on states. And as Statehouse correspondent Karen Kasler reports, it’s something the governor and advocates from across the political spectrum have been worried about as well.

A new national report says expanding Medicaid eligibility in Ohio under the Affordable Care Act would reduce the number of uninsured residents by half.

It would also cost the state an additional $3.1 billion in the next decade.

The Dayton Daily News says the numbers come from a report by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a Washington-based nonpartisan health care policy research organization.

The plan is to make Ohio Medicaid a cabinet-level agency starting halfway through the next two year budget cycle on July 1, 2014. Right now Medicaid is housed in the Department of Job and Family Services, but is also administered by five other state agencies.  Greg Moody is the head of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation.

“We realized that the organization of the program itself was stifling innovation," says Moody.

Medicaid is a nearly $19 billion program – it’s a third of the state budget and growing. But Moody says this move isn’t designed to cut the budget.

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