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Ohio's Medicaid Expansion Threatened By GOP Health Care Bill


When the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Republican "American Health Care Act" on Thursday, among the bill's planned changes was an $800 billion cut to national Medicaid funding over the next five years.

That has big implications for states like Ohio that chose to expand Medicaid coverage in 2013. Some 750,000 Ohioans receives health insurance under the Medicaid expansion.

If the new bill passes the Senate and is voted into law, Ohio would likely phase out its coverage. That's according to John Corlett, president of the Center for Community Solution and former director for the Ohio Medicaid Department.

Corlett says that state lawmakers, if faced with decreases in the Medicaid budget, would only have three options.

"Reduce eligibility, reduce benefits and reduce payments to providers in order to stay within that much lower budget that the federal state legislation envisions," Corlett says.

Corlett says other funding cuts included in the bill would also effect traditional Medicaid recipients such as children, people with disabilities and the elderly. He says that one out of four Ohioans receives health insurance through Medicaid.

"Any changes in the Medicaid program will have a very dramatic effect on the state of Ohio," Corlett says.  

Ten of the 12 Ohio Republicans in the U.S. House followed party leaders in voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act. All four of the state's Democratic representatives voted no. Both Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman have said they oppose the current form of the bill.