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Letter Campaign To Ohio Medicaid Office Opposes Work Requirements

Valeri Potapova

With the blessing of the Trump administration, Ohio is looking into imposing work requirements on able-bodied Medicaid recipients. Last week, a healthcare advocacy group delivered hundreds of letters to the state Medicaid office to express their opposition to the plan.

Steve Wagner with the Universal Health Care Action Network says public input his group gathered shows that work requirements mean more paperwork and hurdles for people seeking coverage under Medicaid.

He compares is to the burden of making an insurance claim.

“Consider how difficult it is how much time you have to spend on hold the documentation that you have to create for that,” said Wagner.

Among the nearly 600 letters he delivered to the Medicaid office, Wagner says just a few dozen were in favor of the waiver.

Republican lawmakers had put into the current budget a provision ordering the Kasich administration ask the federal government for permission to impose work and job training requirements on many Medicaid recipients. Tim Keen, budget director for the Kasich administration, says the number of people who will lose coverage won’t be large.

The think tank Center for Community Solutions, which opposes the idea, estimates it would cost counties more than $378 million over five years.

Wendy Patton of Policy Matters Ohio says that “work requirements are redundant and unnecessary because this population is already working.” She says that in Ohio, about 75 percent of Medicaid recipients are working or looking for work. And among the remaining who aren’t working, a third are disabled and another third are caring for a family member.

Andy Chow is a general assignment state government reporter who focuses on environmental, energy, agriculture, and education-related issues. He started his journalism career as an associate producer with ABC 6/FOX 28 in Columbus before becoming a producer with WBNS 10TV.