Health care advocates say time running out to expand Medicaid

Dayton Daily News - May 13, 2013

Jackie Borchardt of the Dayton Daily News picked up on our collaboration with Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage.

Health care advocates said Monday they haven’t given up on convincing state lawmakers to expand Medicaid coverage to 275,000 poor Ohioans.

Cathy Levine, co-chair of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, said expansion must be decided by June 30 to provide the state and health care providers enough time to begin coverage in January 2014.

Borchardt mentioned the post-Mother’s Day press conference that had advocates handing out bracelets with the message What Would Your Mother Do?” printed on them, along with copies of a Policy Matters brief on Medicaid.

The report argues in favor of Medicaid expansion as way to reduce infant mortality because women with health coverage before and during pregnancy are more likely to deliver healthy babies.

Currently, parents earning 90 percent of poverty are eligible for Medicaid. A single mom working a minimum wage job might make too much to qualify for Medicaid but doesn’t have an affordable option through her employer.

More than 153,000 Ohio women between age 19 and 44 — prime child-bearing years — would be covered under Medicaid expansion. Ohio has the country’s 11th highest infant mortality rate at 7.9 per 1,000 live births. The rate is higher, 15.8 per 1,000 births, for African Americans in Ohio.

Borchardt notes that Ohio House rejected Gov. John Kasich’s plan to expand Medicaid coverage.

Senate GOP leaders have said their version of the budget will not include expansion, but they want to pursue additional reforms and a House committee has started reviewing possible reforms.

Levine said no reforms can replace an extension of coverage to the affected Ohioans. Health care advocates have said they will take the issue to a fight at the ballot box, but Levine said Monday that option is a last resort. 

Health care advocates say time running out to expand Medicaid  

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