State Budget Debate Begins

[February 24, 2023]

The Ohio House of Representatives finance committees have started reviewing the biennial budget (HB 33) as proposed by Gov. Mike DeWine. DeWine’s cabinet directors and other agency officials have appeared before the committees.

State Medical Board Executive Director Stephanie Loucka said although the board increased staff during the current budget – its first such increase since the 1990s – more resources are needed to deal with a rising number of complaints, which currently total about 6,000 annually. The SMBO budget proposal calls for $13.79 million in spending authority for FY24 and $14.3 million in FY25. The increase would fund two additional investigators and two specialized attorneys. An analysis of the proposed budget is here.
In other Statehouse news, the OOA continues to work with coalitions to address copay accumulators and biomarker testing. Bills will be introduced soon in the Ohio House.

Recall last session the bill (HB 135) to end harmful co-pay accumulator policies received considerable attention before stalling during the lame duck session. With these policies, insurers do not count third-party payments toward a patient’s cost-sharing requirements. It was a similar situation for the legislation (HB 608) to give Ohioans affordable access to biomarker testing that could lead to more efficient cancer treatment. Both bills will receive new numbers this session.

The OOA is also supporting new legislation to create a Prior Authorization Gold Card Program in Ohio. A “gold card” refers to a health care provider earning their way out of the prior authorization requirements by demonstrating a high prior authorization success rate. Gold card status would be eligible for Ohio commercial regulated health plans, Ohio public employee plans and Ohio Medicaid plans. 

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