Medicaid helps Ohio. And it helps West Central Ohio, too.
That is the message the Ohio General Assembly should deliver this year. We urge legislators to maintain full Medicaid funding in Ohio in the FY 2016-17 state budget. These are dollars that already are benefiting Ohio’s economy, helping real people in our local counties and throughout the state.
The evidence is clear: Under expanded Medicaid eligibility in 2014, more Ohioans were insured and the state’s economy benefited with a healthier and more productive workforce. More than 6000 people in our region – and more than 450,000 statewide – have enrolled for expanded Medicaid benefits.
Those audiences include young adults working in jobs that don’t provide benefits, people who cannot afford essential medications, laid-off workers struggling to pay for healthcare, and entrepreneurs who don’t yet have a steady source of income.
With benefits, they can get healthy and stay healthy, connecting with a medical home and a primary-care physician.
At St. Rita’s, we have delivered care to 15 percent more Medicaid patients, people who previously were uninsured. We are part of Mercy Health, Ohio’s largest healthcare provider, with a 19-percent increase statewide.
Mercy Health continues to invest nearly $1 million a day in free care and other community benefit programs targeting people who are poor and under-served. We will not waver on that commitment.
Full Medicaid funding also will keep $13 billion in Ohio tax dollars in our state during the next seven years.
This is not a new expansion of Medicaid. Ohio should not take away benefits that already are helping Ohioans, improving our healthcare system and strengthening our economy.
President and CEO of St. Rita’s Health Partners
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