The Ohio Supreme Court has upheld Medicaid Expansion in Ohio, but by only a 4-3 margin. Medicaid survives for another day. It did not make it through the legislative process, but was resurrected at the obscure Controlling Board. The process of signing up new people started on December 9 in Ohio by going to http://benefits.ohio.gov/ to apply for expanded Medicaid. This now applies to nearly everyone living in poverty in Ohio no matter if they have children or if they have a disability. After the information is verified by a staff person from the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services, the person will have health insurance. They will have access to preventative health care, and will not have to rely on emergency room care.
The problem is that at least in Cuyahoga County it is going to be slow getting people signed up. The County ODJFS welfare program is busy verifying thousands of people who are facing work requirements in the food stamp program. Our County has gone above and beyond to interview everyone who faces cuts from the food stamp program to see if they qualify for a waiver. County officials see the value of having people able to buy food is important for the community, for the grocers and the transportation industry. The private sector cannot fill the gap left by the billions in the food stamp program. The welfare department is also dealing with the loss of unemployment extension after Congress failed to agree on a plan. This is complicating the ability of the department to expand Medicaid in Cuyahoga County.
We have helped sign people up that first week in December that the state website was available, and have heard nothing from the County. The community groups who focus on helping poor people sign up for benefits are backed up and cannot get to new people until at least January 15. This is a tremendous opportunity for the community, and we need more people to take advantage of this opportunity. There are most likely 85,000 people in Cuyahoga County who could benefit from expanded Medicaid. We need to make this the highest priority to get these people to sign up as soon as possible. It will revolutionize the delivery of social services in Ohio. We will not have to figure out disability designations (is this autism or is the depression that could lead to suicide or what percent is the person disabled and will that not allow them to work?) and instead focus on getting the individual well again. We need to pick up the pace and get everyone eligible signed up for government supported health care after fighting so hard to convince state leaders of the value.
Posts reflect the opinion of those who sign the entry.