Brown Urges Ohioans to Make Their Voices Heard Following Proposal to Increase Healthcare Costs for Hundreds of Thousands Across The State
April 21, 2016 - 9:41 AM
From the Office of Senator Brown
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Following the release of a proposal that would
increase healthcare costs for hundreds of thousands of Ohioans, U.S.
Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) urged Ohioans to make their voices heard
during the public comment period before the plan is submitted to the
Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for review. The
proposed changes to Ohio’s popular Medicaid expansion would require
non-disabled adults, including some pregnant women, to pay premiums for
coverage that is currently free. Ohioans have until May 16 to submit
public comment on the proposal before the state submits the plan to CMS
for additional review.
“Ohio has earned national praise
and attention for its Medicaid expansion,” Brown said. “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.”
During a news conference call today, Brown encouraged Ohioans to visit his website
to share their stories about Medicaid expansion and what it means for
the health and well-being of Ohio’s communities. Brown was joined on the
call by James Misak, MD, of MetroHealth. Dr. Misak was involved in
securing MetroHealth’s early Medicaid waiver and discussed how the model
improved the health status and outcomes of low-income populations.
MetroHealth Care Plus program in 2013 enrolled over 28,000 previously
uninsured Cuyahoga County residents in an early demonstration to study
the impacts of expanded Medicaid coverage combined with access to
high-quality, coordinated health care,” Dr. Misak said. “Enrollees
demonstrated improvements in care and outcomes for diabetes and high
blood pressure while decreasing emergency department utilization and
overall costs of care. In our view, continuous health coverage matters.
Changing a currently successful Medicaid program to one that leads to
gaps in coverage and care will most likely result in higher costs for
the health system and poorer health outcomes for Ohioans.”
2013, Governor Kasich expanded Ohio’s Medicaid program through the
Affordable Care Act, providing health coverage for more than 600,000
Ohioans, many for the first time. But the state’s 2016-2017 budget bill
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. This new proposal would require nearly all non-disabled
adults, including some pregnant women, on Medicaid who currently qualify
for the program to pay premiums to maintain coverage and would impose
caps on yearly and lifetime expenses. Additionally, the proposal
includes additional co-payments and cost-sharing requirements. The full
proposal and a summary document are available on ODM’s website.
Ohioans can submit comments by emailing HealthyOhio@medicaid.ohio.gov
or writing to Healthy Ohio Program 1115 Demonstration Waiver (Bureau of
Health Plan Policy Ohio Department of Medicaid, 50 W Town St., 5th
Floor, Columbus OH 43218).
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