As far as changes in Medicaid are concerned, it is becoming as clear as mud where the Ohio Statehouse is heading.
John Kasich proposed expanding the health-care program for poor families, indigent seniors and the disabled much as the federal government has defined. The House stripped the expansion from the governor’s budget, setting up a working group to explore other options for reform. Keith Faber, the Senate president, says Medicaid expansion as proposed by Kasich is dead. The Senate also has a panel exploring alternatives to expansion.
Meanwhile, Rep. Barbara Sears, who was a leader in the House budget discussions on Medicaid, has shared with Gongwer News Service her optimism that Medicaid expansion language could reappear during the conference committee process.
But with the Affordable Care Act about to go into full effect in January, Rep. Ron Amstutz, chairman of the House Finance Committee and a member of the House working group, appears to be seeking a reassessment of public assistance itself, encompassing the welfare program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, and the food stamp program. It’s enough to make you wonder whether there is any urgency at all to clarify how more than 300,000 low-income, uninsured Ohioans can ever get health coverage.