Work on Budget Bill Continues
OOA Supports Private Insurance Market Proposals
The Ohio House of Representatives continues to work on the state budget. A new version of the biennial spending bill was released April 21, 2009. It provides additional Medicaid spending among the major updates to Gov. Ted Strickland's original $54.37 billion plan. The bill, HB 1, includes increased hospital Medicaid fees to generate a higher return for the institutions. The OOA has endorsed the private insurance market proposals included in Gov. Ted Strickland’s budget, which will expand coverage to 110,000 Ohioans. These measures include: expanding dependent child coverage, in group policies, up to age 29 and extending the state tax deduction for employer sponsored coverage to all family and dependent coverage; reforming Ohio’s individual open enrollment programs to make coverage more affordable for individuals and families (increasing individual market rates 5.5 percent while decreasing open enrollment rates 50 to 70 percent); requiring that employers offer uninsured employees the opportunity to purchase coverage with pre-tax dollars through Section 125 cafeteria plans; and extending state continuation coverage (Ohio’s “mini-COBRA” program) from six to 12 months so that employees of small businesses who lose their jobs can maintain health insurance coverage for themselves and their families.