You’ll have to excuse me as I slowly work my way back to blogging after a wonderful but hectic Christmas weekend with my kids and family. There are tons of stories to be covered but I’m nursing one hell of a cold right now so I’m going to briefly touch on one other story from last week then take two more cold pills and crash.

In case you missed it, The Ohio Supreme Court finally made a ruling on Governor Strickland’s use of the tobacco settlement money, just in time for John Kasich to take advantage of the funds.

It would be easy for me to write a post berating the Republican-controlled Supreme Court for making this decision the week before Republican John Kasich is to be sworn in as Governor. Obviously the court knows that Kasich will be facing a $8-10 Million budget deficit and that this money will be very handy for plugging that hole.

There’s no doubt this court – full of Republicans – leans right. But that’s old news and I don’t want to dwell on it.

The important points are this:

1. The court ruled in favor of Governor Strickland and the Legislature’s decision to use the money for non-tobacco purposes

and

2. Governor Strickland’s goal of helping expand Medicaid coverage for children will never be realized

Governor Strickland came in to office with a number of goals, and despite the unprecedented recession, he found ways to help achieve those goals.

Using the tobacco money to help give underprivileged kids access to healthcare was one of those ways.

According to Governor Strickland this money had:

“been pinpointed to extend Medicaid coverage to children whose families live at 200 percent to 300 percent of the poverty level.

The largest portion was designated for optional Medicaid services, including vision, podiatry, dental and hospice care. Other programs it was to fund were adult and child protective services, breast and cervical cancer screenings and a ”buy-in” program that helps children with special needs get health care.”

I will take anyone’s bet right now that none of these uses for the money will be maintained, Medicaid coverage for children will be returned to 100% of the poverty level and the rest of optional Medicaid services will be cut.

The budget won’t be released until March, so you have a few weeks to mull it over. But I’ll warn you right now: you’re a sucker if you bet that Kasich cares about poor kids.

 

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