Policy Matters lauds veto of Medicaid freeze, critiques veto of local revenue provision
Posted July 01, 2017 in Press Releases
Governor Kasich did the right thing in vetoing the freeze of enrollment in the Medicaid expansion. Ohio‘s successful expansion of Medicaid means most Ohioans – 94 percent of us - now have health coverage. Protection of health insurance for all makes people and families healthier, happier and more productive. It supports a strong health care sector with living-wage jobs and brings billions of federal dollars into Ohio, which flow to the local economies of every county of the state. The governor’s veto is in the best interest of Oho and the 723,000 Ohioans and their familiies helped by the Medicaid expansion.
Also smart was the veto of the provision requiring the “Healthy Ohio” plan be resubmitted to the federal government. Last year, almost a thousand Ohioans protested this harsh plan as the state sought a waiver of federal Medicaid rules to implement new costs for care for the poorest Ohioans, with a lock-out for those who couldn’t pay. The plan was contrary to the goals of the Medicaid program because it reduced access to health care and created hardship for low-income people and families. The federal government rejected it, but this year’s General Assembly proposed making the state resubmit it again. The Governor’s veto is in the best interest of hundreds of thousands of Ohioans and their families.
The General Assembly should over-ride the veto of a provision to restore the local revenue component of the Managed Care Organization (MCO) provider tax. Under the leadership of Respresentatives Bill Seitz (R-Cincinnati), Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and Jay Edwards (R-Nelsonville) and Senator Matt Dolan (R-Chagrin Falls), the General Assembly included a provision in the budget bill to protect counties and public transit threatened by loss as the state moved the MCO Tax from the sales tax base into the insurance tax. Counties and transit agencies with a piggybacked local sales tax stand to lose significant revenues starting in 2019: transit would lose almost $40 million a year and counties, $160 million a year. The General Assembly’s budget bill directs the state to work with the federal government to restore lost local revenues. The governor’s veto of this important provision needs to be over-ridden, to restore revenues to counties and public transit.