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Howse: Medicaid restrictions, taxes among eleven potential law changes from House GOP veto showdown with governor

July 6, 2017
Stephanie D. Howse News

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 will 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 – if the Senate takes up the House overrides.

“While we may be able to sigh a bit of relief as the freeze on Medicaid expansion was put on hold, the attack on working families and poor people in Ohio continues," said Rep. Stephanie Howse (D-Cleveland). "Preventive healthcare should not be optional, based on the opinion of a select few in the legislature. The gap between the haves and have-nots is growing and Ohio's economy is lagging most of the nation. We need to focus our attention on improving our state's economy and the overall wellbeing of Ohioans.”

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. The federal government ruled Ohio’s Medicaid previous managed care organization sales tax unlawful in 2014, but Ohio Republicans failed to work on a permanent fix for the local funding shortfall during the budget process – even after six years of close to $2 billion in state budget cuts to local communities.

Republican lawmakers potentially added more restrictions to Medicaid healthcare services by housing 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.

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 on neonatal and newborn care, and a provision that has prevented oil and gas exploration in state parks and nature reserves.