Research & Policy
Policy Matters Ohio

Advocates tell government: Don't let states tamper with Medicaid expansion success

December 07, 2015

Advocates tell government: Don't let states tamper with Medicaid expansion success

December 07, 2015

Granting Arizona request would set bad precedent, as Ohio seeks to impose premiums for Medicaid health care coverage.

Contact Wendy Patton, 614-221-4505

Download letter

Policy Matters Ohio, the Ohio Poverty Law Center and 16 legal aids and public interest advocacy groups asked the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to deny Arizona's request to waive certain Medicaid rules that would increase costs for adults covered under the Medicaid expansion of the Affordable Care Act.

The Arizona waiver request is very similar to the “Healthy Ohio” initiative created in Ohio’s budget bill, which would raise the cost of Medicaid health care for all adults who are not disabled or elderly, even those who live in deep poverty. An approval of the Arizona request would create a precedent for approval of Ohio’s pending request, anticipated for submission in 2016.

Forty years of research has shown that imposing premiums and boosting the cost of health care for the poor makes people drop out of coverage -- interrupting care, aggravating illness, increasing suffering and reducing the potential for healthy and productive lives. This defeats the promise of the Affordable Care Act and its promise of access to health care for all.

"Like Arizona, program elements of the Ohio demonstration proposal will include premiums for Medicaid participants all the way down the income scale; a lockout period for missing payments or paperwork; highly complex health care 'accounts;' and benefit limits and caps on care," says the letter to CMS.

"If the Arizona waiver is approved, coverage losses will occur and it will be harder for CMS to reject the Ohio proposal, which in turn will lead to coverage losses here."

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