Ohio Legislator Plans State Funding Boost for Medicaid
In response to the addition of 50,000 new Medicaid recipients and an increase in costly services that have created a $600 million "shortfall" in Ohio's Medicaid funding, state Sen. Roy Ray (R-Akron) was on Nov. 15 expected to propose a $220 million to $230 million state funding increase for the program, the Dayton Daily News reports. Federal funds would match the state increase, as the state and federal government share Medicaid costs 42% to 58%, according to Jon Allen, a spokesman for the state Department of Jobs and Family Services. In 1999, the department "advanced itself" $60 million to cover a previous shortfall, but has fallen behind this year because of a larger caseload and increased costs. From 1994 to 1999, Ohio's Medicaid caseload declined steadily, thanks to a healthy economy and confusion over the impact of welfare reform on Medicaid eligibility. Allen said once people realized Medicaid was unaffected by the new time limits on cash assistance, the caseload increased. With costs of services, such as nursing home care, continuing to rise and more senior citizens and disabled patients utilizing these services, Allen said investing to cover the shortfall is necessary. "Those folks are 34% of the Medicaid caseload," he said, "But they represent about 80% of Medicaid spending." The money from Ray's plan would support the program through summer 2001, Allen said (Convery, Dayton Daily News, 11/15).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.