After COHHIO staff joined hundreds of other advocates at a Statehouse rally earlier this week, the Ohio House decided not to insist on a wrong-headed plan that would cut 500,000 low income Ohioans from Medicaid.
The legislature added the proposal to freeze Ohio’s Medicaid expansion to the state budget, but Gov. Kasich rightly vetoed the provision, saying it would hinder the state’s ability to respond to the opiate crisis. Apparently, the House lacked enough votes to override the governor on this issue, although it did override several other line-item vetoes. Unfortunately, those include a plan to impose monthly premiums on Medicaid beneficiaries and a requirement for the Controlling Board to approve Medicaid spending, which creates unnecessary administrative hurdles. On the positive side, another veto override would generate more for counties and transit authorities by replacing the Medicaid sales tax.
Preserving Ohio’s Medicaid expansion is critical for ensuring access to the healthcare, mental health and addiction treatment that helps low income single adults avoid and escape homelessness. COHHIO recently issued a report that found coverage among those seeking homeless services went from 36 percent prior to expansion, to 80 percent last year. At the same time, Ohio experienced a significant decrease in the overall rate of homelessness.
The House’s veto overrides now go before the Ohio Senate, which is expected to vote on them next week.
While Ohio’s Medicaid expansion survived Statehouse politicians, the program is still in jeopardy at the federal level as the U.S. Senate considers a bill to overhaul the entire healthcare system that would eliminate coverage for an estimated 22 million Americans. COHHIO will continue advocating for full funding of the Medicaid program and resist changes that would harm access to healthcare for low-income, vulnerable Ohioans.
Ohio House Backs Off From Overriding Kasich Veto of Medicaid Freeze – Columbus Dispatch, July 6, 2017