Budget Ignores Looming Threat of Obamacare Repeal

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Advocates across Ohio were pleased last week to learn that Governor Kasich’s proposed two-year state budget would preserve the expansion of Medicaid, a partnership with the federal government under the Affordable Care Act that has provided health benefits to over 700,000 Ohioans. When combined with subsidies to pay for private health insurance plans through the insurance exchanges, $535 million has been added to the budgets of Ohio families since the law was enacted while the state’s uninsured rate has dropped from 11 percent to just 6.5 percent of Ohioans.

According to Bloomberg, without the ACA, Ohio stands to lose $3.5 billion in federal funding in 2019, an enormous new hole in a state budget that is already tight. Absent a continuation of the federal healthcare law, the damage to Ohio budgets only increases from there. By 2028, Ohio could lose over $42 billion in federal funding if the law is repealed, according to Policy Matters Ohio. That is in addition to the $billions in losses that could be expected at Ohio’s hospitals as a result of repeal leaving fewer patients able to pay.

Questions for administration officials

  • What steps has the administration taken to work with Ohio’s Congressional delegation and federal officials to convey the urgency for Ohio’s budget, and the need to preserve coverage for 700,000 Ohioans?
  • If federal support for expanded Medicaid coverage is reduced or eliminated in repeal efforts, would Ohio cut benefits or eligibility for Medicaid as a result? If so, how?
  • If you believe that Medicaid expansion is a net positive for the state, will the administration seek a repeal of the proposed tax cuts in this budget in order to make up for the shortfall? What other backup plans are in place to address the risk from ACA repeal to a balanced budget?
  • Ohio hospitals could lose as much as $15 billion by 2028, if the ACA is repealed (Policy Matters estimate) and Ohio’s uninsured rate begins to climb. Are Ohio hospitals at risk of closing if the ACA is repealed? Which ones?

What’s Next?

Want to do your part to advocate for budget policies that actually help? Here are a few things you can do today:

Read the budget materials released by the administration.

Watch testimony by administration Medicaid officials, tomorrow at 9am on OhioChannel.org.

Call the office of House Finance Committee Chair Ryan Smith at (614) 466-1366 and ask to get email notices when Finance committee hearings are scheduled.

Contact your State Representative and let them know that preserving health coverage is more important than another income tax cut that mainly helps the rich.

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