Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Despite intraparty opposition, Ohio's GOP governor finds a way to get Medicaid to 275,000 people

John Kasich
Low-income residents in states that are not expanding Medicaid have been left in an insurance gap by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Supreme Court ruling that allowed states to opt out of the Medicaid expansion. However, low-income residents in Ohio no longer need to worry about being uninsured, a status that is more common in rural areas. After nine months of battling GOP members who control the legislature and oppose health reform, Republican Gov. John Kasich has found a way to expand Medicaid, paving the way for more than thousands low-income residents to get insured.

"State figures suggest that 275,000 Ohioans will become eligible for Medicaid for the first time," Amy Goldstein reports for The Washington Post. "The Kaiser Family Foundation estimates that 330,000 people in Ohio would have fallen into a coverage gap without the expansion." Ohio is the 25th state state to expand Medicaid, and the eighth with a Republican governor.

Kasich "turned to a relatively obscure state board with power over certain budget decisions," Goldstein writes. The board voted 5-2 to accept $2.55 billion in federal money to cover the cost of expanding Medicaid in Ohio through July 2015. "It does not spell out whether Ohio will provide money to keep Medicaid more generous in future years, when the state would need to chip in a small portion of the expense. And even before the board acted, some conservative Republican lawmakers were threatening to go to court, alleging the governor illegally bypassed the legislature." (Read more)

Jim Siegel and Catherine Candisky report for The Columbus Dispatch: "Starting Jan. 1, mostly childless adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, about $16,000 for a one-person household, can begin receiving health care coverage under the state-federal program. The childless adults who would gain health coverage include many long-time unemployed, mentally ill, veterans and prison inmates." (Read more)

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