July 10, 2017

Sisters of Charity statement on Ohio House of Representatives decision to maintain Medicaid freeze veto

The Sisters of Charity Health System commends the Ohio House of Representatives for not overriding the Governor John Kasich’s veto of a state budget provision that would have frozen Medicaid expansion enrollment. The Kasich administration had estimated that 500,000 low-income Ohioans would lose health coverage within 18 months of a Medicaid freeze.

Ohio took a courageous step more than four years ago when the state expanded Medicaid in Ohio and brought relief to the thousands suffering with mental illness, chronic disease and those battling addiction to opiates.

A Medicaid freeze would have removed the path to recovery that many Ohioans seek. Of the $1 billion Ohio has spent to combat opioid abuse and other drug addictions in 2016, an estimated $650 million was paid for by Medicaid for drug addiction and behavioral health services, including $279 million that was made available because of Medicaid expansion.

The Sisters of Charity Health System was concerned that the proposed Medicaid freeze would have worsened Ohio’s benefit cliff and would have had the unintended result of making it more difficult for Ohio’s working families to move up and out of poverty and off of public assistance.

Ohio leads the nation in opioid deaths and ranks poorly in several population health indicators. If we are to have a healthy Ohio, policymakers must make decisions like these to protect access to affordable, comprehensive coverage, while preserving a safety net for vulnerable residents.

With a system-wide mission to extend the healing ministry of Jesus to God’s people, the Sisters of Charity Health System strongly supports the Catholic Health Association’s Vision for U.S. Health Care, which calls for health care to be available and accessible to everyone, paying special attention to poor and vulnerable individuals.

 

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From its Cleveland headquarters, the Sisters of Charity Health System provides oversight, leadership and strategic direction to more than 20 organizations responding to community needs in Canton and Cleveland, Ohio, and South Carolina.

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