October 21, 2005
October 21, 2005
3/01/2006 Update - The Ohio Department of Job & Family Services released data on Feb. 24, 2006, identifying the number of recipients, by employer, of Medicaid, food stamps and Ohio Works First cash assistance during 2004 and 2005. The data cover 40 employers most often named in the department's data base. Policy Matters Ohio, which had sought such data, has done an initial analysis of it.
10/21/2005 - The Ohio Department of Job & Family Services is moving ahead to determine — by employer — how many people are using public benefits such as Medicaid. Policy Matters Ohio and others previously had sought such information, but had been turned away (see A Threat to Public Records Access). The agency’s decision to go ahead is a positive step for policymakers, who need the information, and for all Ohioans, who have a right to such public records.
Employers nationally have been reducing their health-insurance coverage, forcing many employees to turn to government health coverage. The state should learn which employers receive this indirect subsidy so that it can respond with appropriate policies. That will strengthen the crucial safety net that Medicaid and other public benefits provide.
Officials from ODJFS met Oct. 20 to discuss a possible study, and will meet again the week of Oct. 31. Agency spokesman Jon Allen said that unless the effort “is just so colossal that it would involve a lot of people for a long time,” the agency would produce a report. The completion date should become clearer at the next ODJFS meeting, he said.
As of now, this is a one-time effort, Allen said, though the agency will also look at whether it would be possible to do it again. The study would cover both employees and their dependents. The agency is focusing first on Medicaid, but may also be able to include food stamps and cash assistance. Allen said ODJFS is looking at producing information on employers that have more than a minimum number of employees. That minimum has not yet been determined.
Policy Matters Ohio looks forward to the release of this important information.
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