State Representative Jim Butler (R – Oakwood) today praised the inclusion of a new policy proposal known as the Healthy Ohio Plan in the state operating budget, House Bill 64.  The new initiative is a key component in a comprehensive healthcare reform bill, House Bill 157 (Reps. Butler & Johnson, T.), which was introduced earlier this year and remains under consideration in the House of Representatives.  Rep. Butler offered the entirety of HB 157 as an amendment to the budget, and two key components, the Healthy Ohio Plan and health care price transparency, were ultimately adopted and signed into law by Governor John Kasich on Tuesday.

“I would like to thank my colleagues in the House and Senate for their diligent work to ensure that the Healthy Ohio Plan remained a part of House Bill 64,” said Representative Butler.  “I would especially like to thank all the representatives who contributed to the crafting of this proposal, Speaker Rosenberger for his commitment to keeping this in the budget bill, and the administration for their collaboration in continuing the work of reforming health care while improving quality of care and driving down costs.  The enactment of these measures will position Ohio as a national leader regarding innovative approaches to the complex problems surrounding quality healthcare delivery.”

The Healthy Ohio Plan will require the Director of Medicaid to seek a federal waiver to enroll non-disabled adults in a program similar to commercial health care savings accounts.  The costs for participants are a maximum of $8 a month, with many participants paying less based on a sliding scale of two percent of income.   Each participant is given a debit card for health care expenses and an account with points that subtracted for health care expenses.  Points can also be awarded for healthy outcomes like losing weight or quitting smoking.  If participants have enough points at the end of the year and needed preventive care, they can use points in their account to pay for the required premiums the next year.  Unlike most programs where the government mandates or restricts access to care, the Healthy Ohio Plan allows the participant to be in control of their health care. 

“The Healthy Ohio Program is great improvement over traditional Medicaid,” said Representative Butler.  “Hard-working Ohioans with tight budgets do not want to be recipients, they want to be participants.  This program, along with the price transparency component of HB 157 passed during the budget process, arms them with the information and incentives to achieve better health outcomes and make their own choices regarding costs.”

The Healthy Ohio Plan was largely modeled on a similar program that the federal government allowed in Indiana.  There is data from Indiana to support the fact that while their waiver was in place, healthcare delivery was significantly improved for participants in the program. “I look forward to continuing to work with the governor’s administration on these proposals because I strongly believe that this is a tremendous step toward serious healthcare reform,” said Representative Butler.  “Anything that we can do to improve access to care, increase healthy outcomes, and drive down costs will only benefit Ohioans, and Ohio’s bottom line, for years to come.”

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Local Legislators Announce State Effort To Support Military Members, Veterans, And Their Families

Columbus - 

State Representatives Jim Butler (R-Oakwood) and Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) and Senator Bob Hackett (R-London) held a press conference today to highlight legislation that supports military members, veterans, and their families in Ohio.