Ohio Lawmaker: Cut Medicaid Eligibility To Federal Minimum

Aug 26, 2013

While Governor John Kasich says he’s working with lawmakers to expand Medicaid to more Ohioans, one legislator proposes a plan that would dramatically cut eligibility.

The representative tells Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow that it’s time for Ohio to reduce the participants in what he calls a corrupt system.

Representative John Becker of southwest Ohio wants to cut Medicaid eligibility down to the federal minimum.

As of now parents in Ohio are eligible for Medicaid if they’re earning at or below 90 percent of the federal poverty level. Becker’s plan would drop that to 34 percent.

For pregnant women, that threshold would go from 200 percent of the poverty level to 133 percent.

And the state’s Medicaid buy-in program for workers with disabilities would be cut altogether.

Ohio’s Office of Medicaid did not have a comment regarding Becker’s plan.

The representative says this proposal would save the state $1.5 billion a year and is just one way of addressing what he believes to be an overall problem with federal government programs.

Becker: “For one thing—whenever you’re spending somebody else’s money which of course is what you’re doing with any government program you’re reaching into one person’s wallet and giving money to somebody else—you know I just have some general philosophical problems with that and whenever it’s done it does give me pause.”

Cathy Levine, co-chair of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, calls this a “mean-spirited” plan that would only shift costs. She says taking away coverage that could provide preventive care would only create more costs for taxpayers later down the road.

Becker says his bill might not get consideration as a standalone measure but hopes it adds to the bigger conversation about Medicaid expansion.

Andy Chow at the Ohio Public Radio Statehouse News Bureau.