Saturday, December 21, 2013

Court upholds Ohio Medicaid expansion

Good news, via Ideastream (NE Ohio's public broadcaster)

The state’s highest court says it is constitutional to allow the controlling board, a panel of legislative leaders, to allow the Medicaid department to accept the federal funds that would allow for expansion of Medicaid. 

The Ohio General Assembly didn't vote to expand Medicaid, but Gov. John Kasich used the state's budget controlling board -- made up by several legislative leaders (several handpicked by Kasich) to accept the federal grants. The state Supreme Court ruled 4-3  that the board acted within its rights to accept the money for Ohio's Medicaid.

I'd have rather it gone through the legislature, but I'll take it -- as will the 275,000 Ohioans who are going to get health insurance.

Also, there's a long-term issue here -- the board has the power to accept grant money, but it has very limited power to expend state funds. Starting in 2017, the legislature is going to have to vote state monies to cover the state's share of the expansion or lose the federal money. By then of, course, we hope that the expansion will be tough to take away and the ledge will come in line. 

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