Gov. John Kasich's administration projects tens of thousands of poor Ohioans will lose Medicaid coverage while taxpayers save nearly $1 billion under a plan to charge new fees for the government health coverage and impose penalties on those who miss payments.
The proposal, subject to federal approval, would require those being treated for breast and cervical cancer, teens coming out of foster care and other working-age, nondisabled adults on Medicaid to make monthly payments into a health-savings account to help cover their expenses beginning Jan. 1, 2018.
Nearly 3 million Ohioans are enrolled in Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled. About half would be subject to the new requirements which must be approved by federal regulators. Medicaid officials project an average of 130,000 beneficiaries would lose coverage each year of the five-year pilot. The number is not cumulative over five years because numbers may be duplicative, they say.
The projections and plan details were included in a six-page summary released Tuesday night by the Ohio Department of Medicaid. A full draft of the state's request will be unveiled April 15, initiating a one-month public comment period which will include two public hearings, April 21 in Columbus and May 3 at a location to be announced. State Medicaid Director John McCarthy intends to submit the request to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services in June.
Advocates for the poor say the plan will cause many to be lose Medicaid.
John Corlett, president and executive director of the Center for Community Solutions and former state Medicaid director, said he believes the state is underestimating the number of beneficiaries who will lose coverage.
"It would undo a lot of the progress of Medicaid expansion," he said.
More than 650,000 adults with annual incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $16,394 a year, have signed up for benefits since Jan. 1, 2014, when Ohio expanded Medicaid through Obamacare.
State Medicaid spokesman Sam Rossi said feedback will be included in the request, but cautioned "we can't change the proposal because the language was prescriptive."
This is where Mike Pence in Indiana has gone with Medicaid expansion there, and where Matt Bevin here in Kentucky eventually wants to go: cough up the cash for "medical savings accounts" which you will lose whether or not you actually use it, or lose your Medicaid coverage.
The problem of course is that Ohio has a much larger population than Indiana, so we're talking about hundreds of thousands losing their Medicaid for not being able to come up with the $99 per year.
When that happens, it'll be the fault of those lazy people for not paying into the system...as system many of them already pay into thanks to sales taxes, payroll taxes, and state income taxes.
But of course kicking half a million plus off Medicaid is the entire point. Kasich's plan is to do that all over the country and make it tens of millions instead.