The Future Of Ohio's Medicaid Expansion In Question

Dec 26, 2018

UPDATED at 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, December 26, 2018 A spokesman for the Ohio House says this is not one of the overrides lawmakers are still considering at this point.

Ohio lawmakers are scheduled to come back to the Statehouse tomorrow to possibly override some of Gov. John Kasich’s vetoes over the two-year session. One of those could affect 400,000 Ohioans in Medicaid expansion.

18 months ago, Kasich vetoed a provision in the state’s $133 billion two-year budget that froze enrollment in Medicaid expansion. Loren Anthes, a public policy fellow for the Center for Community Solutions, said he’s concerned lawmakers will override Kasich’s veto. And if they do, Anthes said thousands of Ohioans could lose that coverage and the state would enter unprecedented legal territory.

“We don’t know if it is legally allowable for states to have an expansion when there’s a freeze and still collect the higher rates of reimbursement so does that put all of these extra dollars coming into Ohio at risk?” Anthes said.

Anthes said Medicaid pays for half of the childbirths in Ohio along with nursing home care and opioid addiction treatment for thousands of Ohioans. 

Medicaid expansion for Ohioans earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level would not have happened in the first place if the Ohio Legislature had its way. Kasich had to go around the legislature, using a panel of state lawmakers to implement the expansion in 2013. The federal government footed the cost of the expansion for the first few years but is expected to pare its share down to 90% by 2020.