Greg Lawson, a policy analyst with the conservative Buckeye Institute, said he was concerned that Medicaid may not provide the best care possible to enrollees. In addition, he raised a question about promised funds from the federal (government) remaining, considering the federal debt ceiling debates in Washington. (Plain Dealer)Uhm, isn’t healthcare – any healthcare – better than no healthcare coverage? How does the debt ceiling have anything to do with the settled law that is the Affordable Care Act? (It doesn’t.) The facts continue to line up on the side of Medicaid expansion being a good thing for states. It’s too bad that Gov. John Kasich hasn’t already agreed to participate, but I’ll take his administration’s word that it’s getting serious consideration and hope that they are simply waiting to make the announcement at budget time. Bringing the weak stuff to such an important decision is just playing politics – for the most part, the politics of Obamacare are over. Let’s make it work for Ohio.
Today, an Ohio House of Representatives committee meets to consider legislation, HB 613, which sets training and licensing requirements for “navigators” – individuals who help Ohioans find coverage and obtain subsidies from the state’s healthcare exchange, set to launch in 2014. According to Gongwer (subscription required), the legislation, introduced by GOP Rep. Barbara Sears, was drafted in consultation with the Kasich administration:
Testifying before the House Health and Aging Committee on Thursday, Rep. Sears said the Department of Insurance would like to see the regulations passed during the lame duck session, “as it is part of the blueprint as we move forward with what is required by us by the federal government.” She said she has “worked closely” with DOI Director and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor on drafting the legislation.Despite the administration’s public protests over the new healthcare law, they are actively working on its implementation prior to a January deadline. Only on its second committee hearing, HB 613 is set for a possible vote in today’s Health Committee hearing. Gongwer notes that, if passed, the legislation would “mark the first time the Affordable Care Act would be mentioned in state statute.” Opponents of the healthcare law that passed 2011’s Issue 3 measure have threatened to sue over any state law that has the effect of helping to implement the federal insurance mandate, so it will be interesting to see if HB 613 is challenged in court.