COLUMBUS, Ohio – The state of Ohio has asked the Biden administration to reconsider its August 10 squelching of an Ohio Medicaid pilot program designed to encourage Medicaid recipients to work or receive job training in order to keep their government-funded healthcare.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on August 10 withdrew its earlier approval for the demonstration program first approved under the administration of President Donald Trump that would have allowed the Ohio Department of Medicaid to require recipients ages 19 to 50 to either find work or enroll in a job-training program to remain covered.
Those who were primary caregivers or were receiving addiction treatment would have also qualified for continued coverage under Ohio’s program.
“Removing a provision requiring that says a healthy, able-bodied individual should be working, looking for work, participating in job training, or participating in a recovery program in order to receive free taxpayer-funded healthcare is contrary to Ohioans’ values,” Governor Mike DeWine says in a news release.
The press release continues: “Eliminating reasonable requirements discourages people from becoming self-sufficient and only reinforces government dependency.”
Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost, in the state’s formal notice of appeal, said the CMS relied on “inaccurate and irrelevant assumptions to justify its conclusion that Ohio’s demonstration project was unlikely to promote the objectives of Medicaid.
“Moreover, through its reasoning, CMS undercuts the purpose of the program itself: to promote new ideas and ways of dealing with the problems of public welfare recipients,” the letter states.
Killing off the project before implementation could begin, Yost argued on behalf of the Ohio Department of Medicaid, undermines Medicaid’s purposes and its effect on the expanded Medicaid program under Obamacare that serves those in their prime working years.
“CMS has elevated the Medicaid coverage itself over a legitimate purpose of Medicaid,” Yost’s letter reads, “which CMS has repeatedly acknowledged is to advance the health and welfare of its beneficiaries.”
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Brian R. Ball is a veteran journalist reporting for The Ohio Star and The Star News Network. Send news tips to him at [email protected]