Ohio and federal lawmakers move in parallel, threatening health care access
Posted June 27, 2017 in Press Releases
Ohio’s House and Senate have each passed budget bills that would narrow eligibility and freeze Medicaid expansion, mirroring federal bills that also reduce health coverage, according to a new report from Policy Matters Ohio.
“The American Health Care Act and its counterpart in the U.S. Senate would dismantle both traditional and expanded Medicaid,” said Wendy Patton, report author. “The Ohio budget bills also restrict Medicaid for hundreds of thousands. Medicaid is a critical tool in stemming the drug epidemic. These destructive proposals could not come at a worse time.”
Changes proposed in Ohio’s budget bills include:
- Imposing work requirements and premiums for Medicaid health care services, which will will mean fewer peole can be eligible for coverage through Medicaid.
- Halting enrollment in the Medicaid expansion in the second year of the two-year budget for 2018-19, and
- Seeking to waive federal rules in ways that will weaken insurance policies.
On the federal level, the American Health Care Act and its Senate counterpart would:
- Reduce aid to many who have gotten subsidized insurance through the Healthcare Marketplaces,
- Allow states to seek waivers that could dramatically weaken insurance. Waivers could allow avoiding covering basic services (“essential health benefits”) and denying or making unaffordable coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
- Eliminate Medicaid expansion, the component of the Affordable Care Act that dramatically expanded health coverage across the nation.
- Dismantle the fundamental structure of Medicaid, replacing it with a capped structure that will not keep pace with rising costs of care.
“Those most at risk in the short term include people, families and communities afflicted by the opiate epidemic,” Patton said. “In the long run, children, seniors and disabled people – society’s most vulnerable – have the most to fear from health care policy coming out of Washington and Columbus this year.”