State Rep. Emilia Sykes (D-Akron), the lead Democratic member on the Health and Human Services House budget panel, today joined House Democratic lawmakers to file a formal protest with the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM), opposing proposed restrictions and additional barriers to healthcare for working poor Ohioans.
GOP lawmakers proposed new Medicaid restrictions for working poor Ohioans in the state budget last June that Gov. John Kasich ultimately signed into law. New fees and set-aside health spending accounts would be required under the GOP’s so-called “Healthy Ohio” program, if the federal government should approve it.
Because the GOP’s Medicaid taxes on the working poor would be the most stringent in the nation among the few states that require nominal Medicaid fees, some skeptics believe the federal government is unlikely to approve the plan in its entirety.
The ODM is hearing public testimony at two meetings – one today at 2 p.m. in Columbus – and taking written public comment until midnight on May 16.
Sykes issued the following statement with a copy of the protest letter attached:
“This misguided plan confirms our fears and repeated warnings during the budget process that new GOP taxes on healthcare would effectively end healthcare coverage for working poor Ohioans. It is hypocritical for Governor Kasich to stand on stage and laud his work on Medicaid expansion, when his actions could now be putting over half-a-billion Ohioans in a literal life-or-death situation. The GOP’s so-called ‘Healthy Ohio’ program is anything but healthy.
“Taxpayers deserve to have their voices heard, especially when new healthcare restrictions are being proposed for women being treated for breast and cervical cancer and teens aging out of foster care. In states that have pushed premium increases like Indiana, Oregon and Wisconsin, they have seen administrative costs go up and service go down.”
Editor’s note: A copy of the letter is attached.