Ohio Republicans in the state legislature and Gov. John Kasich are on a collision course this week, after Kasich line-item vetoed 47 line items in the Buckeye State’s next two-year budget on Friday.
Perhaps the biggest item within those lines is the legislature’s attempt to freeze Medicaid expansion, allowing a one-year open enrollment before cutting off expansion for those who earn up to 38 percent above the federal poverty line. And if anyone has a gap in coverage, they can’t get it back.
Talk to anybody who works for a county department of job and family services and the cruelty in this becomes apparent quickly: Many people gain and lose Medicaid coverage for a wide variety of reasons all the time.
Oftentimes they get a temporary or seasonal job that kicks their earnings up out of range, but then when that job goes away they go back to needing Medicaid. Sometimes people who need Medicaid are transient and their moving from county to county causes them to lose coverage.
We are a society of human beings with complicated lives, and no two situations are the same. So for as many reasons as there are people, sometimes folks lose their coverage and sometimes they need it back. Ohio Republican legislators have crafted a bill where, once folks do lose their Medicaid coverage, they won’t be able to get it back.
In a state where one in four people on Medicaid have chronic health conditions, denying them preventative health care coverage because of a gap is incredibly callous. It will force people back into relying on emergency rooms when their health situation becomes dire: An inefficient, expensive, and reactive health care program instead of a more efficient, less expensive, pro-active one.
When your politically reactionary friends piss and moan about not wanting to have to pay for people who can’t be bothered to work, remind them that over 40 percent of people who gained Medicaid statewide through expansion are working. Their jobs just don’t provide health benefits and their wages are so low they require the social safety net. This isn’t doing the dirty to the non-working poor; this is doing the dirty to the working poor.
And the other 60 percent? Employees at DJFS offices around the state are constantly helping them find any employment opportunity they can. Being wantonly cruel to these people helps no one; it’s just wanton cruelty. It’s tripping a person who just stood up and then kicking him for good measure.
Now we get to see whether the Ohio General Assembly will deliver the steel-toed boot to the breadbox. We advise you to call your state senator and representative to tell them not to.
Here’s the latest from the Columbus Dispatch:
The (Kasich) administration estimated that 500,000 Ohioans could lose coverage by 2020 (under the state legislature’s freeze).
Kasich’s veto message unveiled early Saturday said federal law requires a single state agency to be in charge of the Medicaid program. By moving to freeze new enrollment, the General Assembly improperly seized part of the state Medicaid director’s executive authority to administer the health-insurance program, the document said.
The claim raises the specter that the Kasich administration, or another supporter of the Medicaid expansion, could file a lawsuit challenging the enrollment freeze if the legislature votes to override the governor’s veto.
(House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, R-Clarksville, and Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina) said in statements that they will talk with their GOP caucuses to gauge the desire to reject Kasich’s vetoes. The House could vote as soon as Thursday; the Senate the week after.
It takes a three-fifths vote — at least 60 members of the House and 20 of the Senate — to override a veto. Republicans control the House with 66 seats to the Democrats’ 33, and the Senate by 24-9. Both leaders could afford defections by some Republicans and still reinstate the Medicaid freeze
Other Items Of Interest
2018 Gubernatorial Election
In the 2018 race for Ohio’s next top executive, much of what we already know continues to be confirmed. This week it’s Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s turn to reveal the universally known.
Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor plans to make her candidacy for governor official at a speaking engagement Friday in Cleveland, rounding out a crowded Republican field in an even more crowded gubernatorial race, according to a campaign aide.
Taylor’s intentions have been anything but secret, with a soft launch earlier this year and a website active since February. Her official entrance into the race solidifies the candidates on the Republican side, save for a surprise entrant.
Grant Shaffer, a top aide for Taylor, told cleveland.com that Taylor would officially announce her candidacy at noon on Friday in front of the City Club of Cleveland.
Taylor will face off against Attorney General Mike DeWine, Secretary of State Jon Husted and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci for the chance to be on the November 2018 ballot.
Things That Go Boom!
For those of you like me who can’t help but enjoy things that make “bang” noises, good news!
From the Dayton Daily News:
Roman candles, bottle rockets and firecrackers are still illegal in Ohio — despite what you hear in your neighborhood this week.
When it comes to fireworks regulation, Ohio could move from one of the most restrictive to one of the most expansive states in the nation.
State lawmakers are considering a bill to legalize fireworks for consumers starting July 1, 2020. House Bill 226 was introduced in May and will likely be considered again in the fall.
The measure faces stiff opposition from fire officials, pediatricians and others who warn that such a move would lead to structure fires, property damage and injuries
Infighting Begins In 2018 GOP Secretary of State Primary
Know thy self; know thy enemy, advised Sun Tzu. Or maybe it’s know thyself, and thine enemy. What is the grammar for thy/thine? Who knows? Point is, the Republicans running to be the next Ohio Secretary of State are in disagreement over how much Republicans should be allowed to gerrymander U.S. Congressional Districts. Thine Toledo Blade has thy story.