In a follow up to Plunderbund’s report last Wednesday on Ohio senior U.S. Senator Sherrod’s call to citizens to voice their views on a proposal by Gov. John Kasich that would increase costs for Ohioans using Medicaid if Federal authorities agree to rule changes, Sen. Brown held an event at the Statehouse in Columbus Monday to bring home his concern for how hundreds of thousands of Medicaid-eligible Buckeyes will be required to pay more and struggle with new program caps imposed by Kasich Administration health officials.
Gov. John Kasich has been running for president for ten months, and one of his key talking points from the beginning has been how he bucked his party—especially his GOP-led General Assembly who said no to expanding Medicaid—to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
Mr. Kasich, who framed his decision as a moral one based on his understanding of Scripture, has used he decision to emphasize his compassionate side versus those of many Republicans, especially most Republican governors, to say no to expansion. But now, with this new proposal by health officials appointed by Gov. Kasich that would impose restrictions to this already challenged class of people, Gov. Kasich is rolling back program benefits and Sen. Brown wants everyone to know he isn’t happy at all.
Kasich Proposes New Rules For Medicaid
Taking his call to speak out to Columbus Monday, Sen. Brown, whose name has surfaced lately as a possible vice president running mate to Hillary Clinton should she be the nominee for Democrats this year, pointed to proposed changes to Ohio’s popular Medicaid expansion that would require non-disabled adults, including some pregnant women, to pay premiums for coverage that is currently free.
“Ohio has earned national praise and attention for its Medicaid expansion,” Brown said in prepared remarks. “Unfortunately, a plan is underway right now to gut Ohio’s Medicaid expansion by rolling back the progress we’ve made and increasing health care costs for up to one million Ohioans. These are hardworking Ohioans who aren’t looking for a handout – they just want to be able to keep caring for their families,” Brown continued. “Luckily, this change is not a done deal and that’s why I am encouraging people to make their voices heard. If you have a story to tell about how this outrageous change will hurt your family, we need you to tell it.”
Sen. Brown’s office says Ohioans have until May 16 to submit public comment on the proposal before the state submits the plan to CMS for additional review
Becky Barger-Armato, a central Ohioan who would face increased costs and decreased access to services if the proposed policy is enacted, joined Sen. Brown in Columbus along with State Rep. Nickie Antonio and State Sen. Kenny Yuko, along with Dr. Dana Vallangeon, CEO of Lower Lights Christian Health Center, today.
About three years after John Kasich expanded Medicaid, his latest budget bill [2016-2017] requires the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to apply to the federal government for permission to change, or “waive,” the way the program is currently run. According to the proposal, the new rules would require nearly all non-disabled adults on Medicaid to pay premiums to maintain coverage and would impose caps on yearly and lifetime expenses. The proposal also includes additional co-payments and cost-sharing requirements and a limit on covered services.?
Key themes embedded in Gov. Kasich’s governance mindset is that of dependency on government and personal responsibility. Ohio’s now term-limited governor has long advocated for less government safety nets as incentive for individuals to find a job and get to work. His first problem is he’s not creating jobs that pay a living wage near fast enough for all the Ohioans—many of them poor enough to qualify for Medicaid, the federal/state funded health insurance safety-net program for low-income people—who are still looking for a job. After 40 consecutive months, Gov. Kasich has failed to even break even with the average rate of job creation.
In a call with reporters last Wednesday, Sen. Brown declined to comment on whether weaning people off depending on government programs combined with the long-standing call by establishment Republicans like Gov. Kasich that individuals show more personal responsibility in their lives were motives behind the call for new rule changes.
Meanwhile, Gov. Kasich is running fourth in a three-candidate race for GOP presidential nominee. In delegate counts, he trails, in descending order, Donald Trump, Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the competition in mid-March.