Opponents come out against proposal to charge Ohio Medicaid enrollees

A proposal in Ohio that would require more than 1 million state residents on Medicaid to pay a new monthly cost is being criticized by various opponents, including healthcare advocates and Democrats, according to an Associated Press report published by The Vindicator.

These opponents claim the proposal would burden low-income beneficiaries and cause some to drop out of Medicaid.

Cleveland-based Center for Community Solutions, led by Ohio's former Medicaid director John Corlett, is one entity that has provided input on the proposed Healthy Ohio program. The policy think tank claims the proposal serves as a barrier to maintaining or gaining health coverage and could lead to the "broad disenrollment" of foster children, women with cancer and other vulnerable Medicaid beneficiaries, according to the report.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and other Democrats also argue the proposal will spoil the progress Ohio has made to cover the uninsured through the state expanding Medicaid.

But Ohio Rep. Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) supported Healthy Ohio, saying opponents of the program are overlooking the plan's aim of getting people to take healthier steps, such as seek preventive care, according to the report. 

Under the Healthy Ohio program, nearly all non-disabled adults who receive Medicaid would be required to pay premiums and co-pays for their health coverage. According to the report, failing to make payments would result in people losing coverage, and those people would have to pay back the debt to re-enroll.

Enrollees, with the exception of pregnant woman and people with no income, would contribute up to $8.25 monthly, and no more than $99 annually.

The money would be placed in a health savings account, along with an annual deposit of $1,000 from Ohio's Medicaid agency, according to the report. People would use the funds to help pay for visits to their physician as well as other medical services.

State officials plan to submit the proposal for federal approval in June.


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