PDT Staff Writer
On Thursday, the group Advocates for Ohio’s Future released a fact sheet showing the potential impact of extending health care coverage in the state budget, if approved by legislators.
The fact sheet states, “Scioto County’s economy is stronger when everyone can participate in the economy. Healthy children become productive citizens, healthy citizens build strong communities, and health workers strengthen Ohio’s economy. If Ohio extends health coverage in the state budget 3,766 Scioto County uninsured 19-64 year olds are projected to gain health coverage by 2015.”
According to 2010 figures the group estimated there are 5,422 eligible uninsured adults in Scioto County.
The fact sheet states that if Ohio extends its medicaid coverage, by 2015, only two percent of Scioto County would remain uninsured. Based on 2010 figures that would represent a 69 percent decrease.
In February the the Scioto County Health Coalition unanimously voted to endorse Gov. Kasich’s plan to expand Medicaid in Ohio.
Kasich released his plan with this proposal for a $63.3 billion 2014-2015 state budget.
Kasich’s plan would expand Medicaid eligibility to Ohioans earning up to 138 percent of federal poverty level (about $15,400 per person). But the extension comes with a condition: If the federal government fails to cover the bulk of the costs, as it has promised, the state will reverse course.
“For a number of years we’ve lived with the reality that some of the unhealthiest folks in our community are unable to access health care services because they are uninsured. The Medicaid expansion will create a pathway for them to be able to access what we think is a very well developed system in our community, between primary care, hospitals and clinics that are available,” Ed Hughes of Compass Community Health said. “There is likely 20 percent of our citizens that can not access the services we have and this Medicaid expansion will create that opportunity.”
Hughes said the Medicaid expansion has the potential to be a good thing for the area. He said it’s also an economic development issue.
“If we are able to provide health care services to those people then health care services will have to expand to meet that need and that could mean additional jobs,” Hughes said.
When asked what an endorsement like this says to the governor, Hughes said he hoped it conveyed gratitude.
“We’re hopping it says a big thank you to the governor who has stepped out and shown the courage to be able to say this is good for our state,” Hughes said. “The affordable care act and health care is in a major state of flux and change. A lot of people have gone to different corners and are either in opposition or support.”
According to Hughes, this area is one that stands to be most positively impacted by the changes.
“We fit the profile of a community that could be most effected in a positive way because our health care indices are the worst, we have a lot of unemployment and we have a lot of poverty. We can’t improve these health care indices if a person can’t get to the doctor,” he said.
According to the group. the projected sales tax revenue if Ohio extends health coverage in Scioto County in 2015 would be a projected $353, 309 with a projected $31 million in the state by 2015.
Wayne Allen may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 228, or firstname.lastname@example.org. For breaking news, follow Wayne on Twitter @WayneallenPDT.