State Reps. Nickie J. Antonio (D-Lakewood) and Emilia Strong Sykes (D-Akron) today expressed disappointment regarding proposed Medicaid restrictions released this afternoon by the Kasich Administration.
The Administration is seeking the restrictions in a waiver request to the federal government that stems from Republican attempts to undercut the state’s Medicaid expansion in the previous state budget. Though the Administration claims no more than 36,036 Ohioans are in jeopardy of losing healthcare coverage under the new restrictions, the actual number of people impacted could be significantly higher if the economy slows down, or more people have trouble finding work.
“It is unfortunate that the Republican lead legislature and administration would limit Ohioans ability to secure and keep stable health insurance,” said Sykes. “The work requirements are counterintuitive and will not provide any long term cost savings as administration officials suggest and will directly harm the neediest families across the state. The minimal cost saving are not worth the lives that will be harmed and lost due to these changes. This is morally and financial wrong for the state and I’ll do everything I can to block this ill-conceived and short sighted policy.”
The proposed restrictions would mean people – who are sick, lack transportation, experience a family emergency, or live in a rural community and just can’t find work – would lose Medicaid healthcare with no notice if they can’t work a full 80 hours in a given month.
“Taking away healthcare from people in need of temporary assistance will actually keep people sicker and unable to find work. This will increase healthcare costs across the board.” said Rep. Antonio. “Further, this will be detrimental to Ohioans who want to work and need healthcare.”
A review of past work requirement proposals in entitlement programs found that the proposals don’t cut poverty and often leave participants languishing in poorly paid and temporary jobs.
Reps. Antonio and Sykes served on the House Finance Committee, where the waiver was originally debated. They also serve on the House Health Committee and the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee.