Ohio Gov. Signs Bill to Fund Medicaid Shortfall
Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R) signed legislation Dec. 8 that immediately will allocate $249 million to fund the state's Medicaid program, which has suffered a shortfall due to rising participation and increasing health care costs (Associated Press, 12/8). Commenting on the rising cost of health care, Rep. Larry Householder (R), who will become state House speaker next month, said, "I think this is the first we're seeing of a trend where human services, especially taking care of the elderly, is going to be more expensive." Noting that state legislators will have to make "tough choices" about budget cuts, he added, "There's only so much money. You've got services such as Medicaid where costs have risen to the point it's digging deeper into the pocket books of Ohioans." Medicaid costs are expected to reach $6.5 billion in this fiscal year -- an 18.1% increase over last year. To help make up the deficit, a Taft spokesperson said the governor has requested budget cuts in every state department except education. The state's allocation represents its portion of the Medicaid shortfall for the fiscal year ending June 30. The federal government will pay the remainder of the deficit, which totaled $648 million (Jasper, Cincinnati Enquirer, 12/6).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.