Last updated: August 23. 2013 8:22PM - 231 Views

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Medicaid expansion good for Ohio

In Ohio, there are many people without health coverage. They are mostly people working in jobs without health benefits.

There is a solution. Ohio can join other states that have agreed to expand Medicaid and provide health care coverage for people who desperately need it. The federal government will cover the cost of the Medicaid expansion for three years beginning in 2014 as part of Obamacare and 90 percent of the cost after that. Gov. John Kasich has included this in his budget. As a nurse, I believe we should do this to help our fellow residents live a better life.

Not expanding Medicaid in Ohio will not stop Obamacare. It has been upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. If we do not expand Medicaid, taxes paid by Ohio residents to the federal government will pay for care of the poor, only in other states … states such as California, New York, and even Michigan. What will that do to us? Our hospitals. health centers, and private doctor offices will lose revenue, doctors and nurses (trained in Ohio-supported colleges) will leave the state, our people will get sicker, cost of care of the uninsured will be shifted to people with insurance, employers’ costs will go up, and industry will look for other places to invest in jobs. This is not just about health, it is about our economy.

Where have all these vacant houses come from? Medical debt was a factor in 60 percent of the bankruptcy filings in 2011 and home foreclosures. Medicaid expansion would increase access to health insurance, which would significantly reduce the number of bankruptcies and home foreclosures. This would help Ohioans be economically stable, independent, and keep our neighborhoods strong. Please consider joining me and advocating for Medicaid expansion.

— Janis Sunderhaus, Lima

CEO, Health Partners Western Ohio

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