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Medicaid Expansion and Its Importance to Low-Income Ohioans

photo of Gov. John Kasich
Gov. John Kasich's administration has been considering scaling back Medicaid expansion to cover those at or under the poverty level.

Some 700,000 Ohioans are covered under the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, and Gov. John Kasich continues to push for the federal government to continue the expansion in any future health care reform. But he’s also argues that states should have flexibility.  

That could mean thousands of very poor people might lose Medicaid coverage.

Medicaid expansion was aimed at people making up to 138 percent of poverty - $28,000 for a family of three. But if Medicaid expansion hadn’t happened, former state Medicaid Director John Corlett says half a million Ohioans under the poverty level wouldn’t have coverage because they didn’t qualify for Medicaid.

“We’re talking people with literally no income who were not eligible before, unless they were disabled, or unless they had children, and then there was some limited eligibility for low-income parents.”

Corlett says many are drug addicted, have mental illnesses or suffer with chronic diseases. The Kasich administration has been looking at scaling Medicaid expansion back, covering only those at or under the poverty level. That means 150,000 Ohioans might lose Medicaid coverage. 

Karen is a lifelong Ohioan who has served as news director at WCBE-FM, assignment editor/overnight anchor at WBNS-TV, and afternoon drive anchor/assignment editor in WTAM-AM in Cleveland. In addition to her daily reporting for Ohio’s public radio stations, she’s reported for NPR, the BBC, ABC Radio News and other news outlets. She hosts and produces the Statehouse News Bureau’s weekly TV show “The State of Ohio”, which airs on PBS stations statewide. She’s also a frequent guest on WOSU TV’s “Columbus on the Record”, a regular panelist on “The Sound of Ideas” on ideastream in Cleveland, appeared on the inaugural edition of “Face the State” on WBNS-TV and occasionally reports for “PBS Newshour”. She’s often called to moderate debates, including the Columbus Metropolitan Club’s Issue 3/legal marijuana debate and its pre-primary mayoral debate, and the City Club of Cleveland’s US Senate debate in 2012.