By Patricia Beech –
Proposed state and federal Medicaid changes could cost Adams County millions and result in the unemployed losing coverage, according to the former director of Ohio’s Medicaid program, John Corlett.
Corlett, who now serves as President and Executive Director of The Center for Community Solutions, said the planned changes “could harm already economically fragile rural Ohio counties like Adams County where residents are much more likely to depend on Medicaid as a source of health care coverage than those living in mostly urban and suburban counties.”
In a report released by The Center for Community Solutions, Adams County was listed among those counties that would be be most harmed by the proposed changes to Ohio’s Medicaid program because of widespread dependence on Medicaid coverage – nearly 4 out of 10 residents receive their health care coverage through Medicaid.
The program also pays the county’s health care providers over $30 million annually.
“The proposal to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act would cut Medicaid reimbursement to Adams County health care providers by as much as $76 million between 2019 and 2025,” said Corlett. “This would translate into painful reductions in eligibility, services, and the rates paid to Adams County health care providers.”
The report also warned that a state budget proposal pending in the Ohio General Assembly could also end Medicaid coverage for some unemployed adults.
“Adams County has an unemployment rate much higher than the state rate, so the proposal to eliminate Medicaid coverage for some unemployed adults will have a larger negative effect,” said Corlett.
“People need to understand how successful the Medicaid expansion has been for Ohio,” Corlett told Crain’s Cleveland Business news,
“The governor and the administration have done an excellent job of managing the program. They’ve been under budget from the beginning – the only reason the state is in the black right now is because Medicaid spending is under budget. Otherwise, we’d be in the red.”
Corlett argues that restricting people’s access to Medicaid will not lower health care costs.
“People who may be knocked off the program will still show up for care,” he said. “They just show up at the emergency room and we have to provide care in the most expensive, least coordinated way.”