Heartbeat Bill Back Again; Medicaid Director Talks Transformation, Expansion

After dying at the end of the last General Assembly, the so-called Heartbeat Bill is back again, with the help of Reps. Christina Hagan (R-Alliance) and Lynn Watchmann (R-Napoleon). A bill introduced this week by Rep. Lou Terhar (R-Cincinnati) would require cities, villages and counties to balance their budgets, just as the state is obligated to do under its constitution. The Ohio Ethics Commission chair says Gov. John Kasich made a clean break as a former board members at Worthington Industries, whose subsidiaries received $619,000 in tax breaks from the state. Hearings on a bipartisan plan to reform Medicaid began this week in Columbus, and will continue for the next few weeks around the state.

Meanwhile, the state’s Medicaid department has been undergoing a transformation. The new Department of Medicaid was created in the state budget with the goal of making the massive Medicaid system more efficient, cost-conscious and user-friendly. State Medicaid Director John McCarthy talks about this, as well the possibility of Medicaid expansion and addresses some of the criticisms of the idea.

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