Columbus—Today, the Ohio Senate voted to override six of Governor Kasich’s line-item vetoes of the state budget (HB 49).  Senate Democrats strongly objected to three of the veto overrides that threaten to undermine Medicaid expansion in Ohio by limiting the ability of the state to fund the program which is part of the Affordable Care Act.

“Since we passed the state budget earlier this summer, the United States Senate failed to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.  But, there’s still a lot of uncertainty about the future of Obamacare,” said Senate Minority Leader Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights).  “The last thing we should do is create more uncertainty for doctors and hospitals by undercutting Medicaid expansion here in Ohio. Lives are at risk.”

The three Medicaid related overrides place new limits on the authority of the State Controlling Board to approve funding for Medicaid expansion and prevent the Department of Medicaid from covering new groups of Ohioans unless “expressly permitted by statute.”

“This is simply another attack on Medicaid expansion that would see the General Assembly refusing to grant coverage to any new, optional groups should they become eligible,” said Senator Edna Brown (D-Toledo). “It appears that the majority wants sole power to decide who is worthy of coverage and who is not.”

“The State Controlling Board has been around for a century and this is the most drastic restriction of the Board’s authority in 100 years,” added Senator Michael J. Skindell (D-Lakewood).

All the members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus supported three other veto overrides that will increase Medicaid reimbursement rates for nursing homes and neonatal and newborn services as well as a delay adding behavioral health services into managed care until July 1, 2018.

“While I support increasing neonatal newborn services reimbursements to meet national levels at 75%, it is coming at a cost to other healthcare providers and services – they will get a decrease in reimbursements – except nursing homes,” said Senator Charleta B. Tavares (D-Columbus). “This is unconscionable as these healthcare providers are woefully under-funded.”


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