Today, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) applauded Ohio's decision to become the 25th state to expand Medicaid under the new health law. Because of the expansion, around 300,000 Ohioans will now have access to health insurance. Sen. Brown offered the following statement:
"Ohio's decision to implement the health law and expand Medicaid will save lives and allow Ohioans to live healthier," Brown said. "It is not right for many Ohioans to only see a doctor during trips to the emergency room. Now, because of the health law, hundreds of thousands of Ohio adults will have access to health insurance, many for the first time. This is just one more example of the ways the health law has benefitted millions of Ohioans."
Currently, Ohio Medicaid does not provide coverage for adults--regardless of income--who do not have disabilities or dependent children. Today's decision will expand Medicaid coverage to include more low-income adults who do not currently qualify.
Ohio will receive more than $2.5 billion in federal aid to help cover the expansion in the next two years. Having fewer uninsured patients will allow providers to breathe easier, as there will be fewer unpaid medical bills from lower income patients who cannot afford to pay.
The health law has already protected millions of Ohioans by ending lifetime caps on insurance coverage, covering children with pre-existing conditions, allowing young adults to stay on their parents' insurance until their 26th birthday, offering free preventive care in new private insurance plans, closing the "donut hole" in drug prices for Seniors, and providing tax credits to small businesses to help them afford health coverage for their employees. Beginning January 1, 2014, insurance companies also can no longer discriminate against individuals with pre-existing conditions by denying them coverage or charging them exorbitant prices, benefiting the millions of Ohioans with pre-existing conditions.
More than 916,000 Ohioans are eligible to receive financial help in order to secure affordable and accessible health coverage through the health care marketplace. Brown, who declined Congressional health insurance for nearly two decades--keeping a 1992 campaign promise to decline a health plan until similar coverage is available to all Americans--will enter the marketplace during the this 6-month enrollment period that started on October 1st.