Today, the Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives overrode eleven items Governor John Kasich vetoed in the recently passed state budget, House Bill (HB) 49. Under the House’s overrides, Medicaid expansion would have to be reauthorized through the state Controlling Board and new taxes on working people could be put in place as a condition of healthcare coverage.


“While I am glad the House didn’t act on a straightforward Medicaid freeze today, House Republicans set up a potentially insidious, back door freeze by seeking new barriers to Medicaid healthcare coverage for working people,” said House Democratic Assistance Whip Emilia Sykes (D-Akron). “While Ohio’s economy is lagging behind the nation’s, now isn’t the time to play games with lifesaving healthcare for hundreds of thousands of working Ohioans who want to provide economic stability for their families. With these restrictions, we are just putting up more roadblocks on a path to the middle class for working people in our state.”


The House also tried to find a way to keep almost $200 million per-year in local funding for communities intact by instructing the Kasich Administration to seek a federal waiver from the Trump Administration for a revised tax on Medicaid managed care services.


“After six years and almost two-billion dollars in Republican cuts to local communities, it’s our responsibility to take an all-of-the-above strategy to rebuild and restore our economic engines – our local communities,” said House Democratic Leader Fred Strahorn (D-Dayton). “While Ohio’s economy teeters on the verge of recession, we need to put our communities and local taxpayers in the best position possible to plan for their future and invest in job creation and community development.”


Republican lawmakers potentially added more restrictions to Medicaid healthcare services by trying to house authority for approval of optional services like dental, breast and cervical cancer screenings with the Republican-controlled legislature, a move the Kasich Administration contends is in violation of federal law.


“At a time when Ohio leads the nation in opioid deaths, too many babies are dying before their first birthday and many families have loved ones fighting some type of cancer or other serious health condition, today’s decision against a Medicaid freeze was positive, but I remain concerned with the many other roadblocks to access quality healthcare Republicans passed.” -Rep. Alicia Reece (D-Cincinnati).


House Republicans didn’t take the possibility of a Medicaid freeze off the table entirely, saying they will wait for Congress to act before making a final decision.


The House also overrode vetoes related to nursing home funding, Medicaid rates neonatal and newborn care, and a provision that has prevented oil and gas exploration in state parks and nature reserves.

 
 
 
  
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