Reps. West, Russo Raise Concerns About Medicaid Work Requirements To Department Director
Say implementation should be delayed until improvements are made to state's IT system for benefits
Posted January 16, 2020 by Minority Caucus

State Reps. Thomas West (D-Canton) and Allison Russo (D-Upper Arlington) sent a letter to Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) Director Maureen Corcoran today expressing their concerns with the implementation of Medicaid work requirements. The lawmakers’ letter comes in light of a year-end report sent by Director Corcoran to Gov. Mike DeWine detailing a variety of issues the department has dealt with over the past year, including chronic problems with the information technology system “Ohio Benefits,” utilized by both ODM and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS) to determine benefit eligibility.

“Given the state of the Ohio Benefits system, it would be irresponsible to take on the additional administrative burden that implementing work requirements for Medicaid would bring. We must ensure that additional eligible Ohioans do not lose their Medicaid coverage,” said West.

“I appreciate the transparency of the Administration, but we do not yet have any details on the plan to resolve these disturbing problems before the roll-out of the Medicaid work requirements,” said Russo. “At the end of the day, this is about improving the lives and well-being of vulnerable Ohioans and children. That begins by making sure our current eligibility system works the way it should, as opposed to further burdening a dysfunctional process with more red tape and administrative costs.”

Corcoran’s report identified nearly 1,100 defects that the Ohio Benefits system currently faces, which in turn have necessitated the creation of 1,765 “workarounds” to remedy these defects. Moreover, the report noted that these defects have also caused privacy issues for over 700 Medicaid members, another startling revelation with serious implications. In these and many other ways, the problems with Ohio Benefits have adversely affected Medicaid recipients and have required Medicaid staff members to spend hundreds of hours rectifying them, according to the report.


Related Content

Featured Posts

Democrats Lament Another Broken Promise By LaRose


State Reps. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) and Catherine D. Ingram (D-Cincinnati) responded to the state Controlling Board refusing to hear Secretary LaRose’s late request for additional authority to pay return postage for absentee ballots in its meeting yesterday. LaRose said he will come back to the Board in mid-September, but absentee ballot applications are set to be mailed to 7.8 Million Ohio voters before that – around Labor Day – without return postage. The members have been urging LaRose for months to use existing authority of his office to pay return postage for both applications and ballots.


Democrats Urge LaRose To Keep His Word To Ohio Voters


State Reps. Paula Hicks-Hudson (D-Toledo) and Bride Rose Sweeney (D-Cleveland) responded to Secretary LaRose’s announcement that he is requesting additional permission from the state Controlling Board to pay return postage for voting materials. The deadline for submitting such requests was Monday, Aug. 17 for the Board’s Aug. 24 meeting. No request from LaRose’s office appears yet on the Controlling Board’s website. It is unclear whether the late request will be added to the meeting agenda or what specifically is being requested.  


Democrats Unite To Tell LaRose: Do Your Job


The House Democratic Caucus today sent a letter to Secretary of State Frank LaRose addressing recent major developments in Ohio’s elections. Last week, the country watched in horror as Post Office mailboxes and processing machinery were dismantled and removed across the country and in Ohio.


OLBC President Rep. Stephanie Howse Urges Action On Pay Equity On Black Women's Equal Pay Day


Ohio Legislative Black Caucus President Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland) today urged action on the Ohio Equal Pay Act, legislation alongside Rep. Randi Clites (D-Ravenna) that would recognize the full value and potential of Ohio’s working women.