Posts Tagged 'healthcare'

Kasich and Taylor Give Away State Control for Partisan Political Games

Lt. Governor Mary Taylor has once again put politics over the interests of Ohio’s businesses and consumers by not submitting a list of minimum essential benefits to be covered under Ohio health insurance policies.  Citing a lack of clarity in rules from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), she ignored an important deadline in implementing federal health care reform.

“The Lt. Governor consistently derides ‘Obamacare’ and federal mandates and yet, when given the opportunity for control over how the insurance industry will be regulated in Ohio, she opts for a one-size-fits-all federal model,” said Representative John Patrick Carney (D-Columbus). “Secretary Sebelius and HHS recognized that all states are not the same and allowed states the opportunity to regulate themselves. Ohio has a unique economy and unique demographics.  What works in California or Texas or Indiana may not be best for Ohioans.”

Insurance is one of Ohio’s largest industries.  According to the Ohio Department of Development, Ohio’s health insurance sector employs nearly 50,000 people—ranked 6th highest in the nation.

Representative Carney has been a champion of state control in implementing health reform in Ohio.  Last January, he introduced HB 412 with Rep. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) to establish an individual and small business health benefit exchange.  In their legislation, a board of industry experts would be responsible for establishing minimum essential benefits in Ohio.

“The refusal of this administration to implement any part of the Affordable Care Act demonstrates a disheartening willingness to put political gamesmanship before the best interests of the people of Ohio,” Rep. Carney said.  “The opposition to certain provisions of the ACA appears to stem not from concerns over their merit, but rather from a staunch refusal to admit that an idea—first implemented by a Republican Governor, then adopted by a Democratic President—could actually benefit the people.”

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Rep. Carney Urges State to Move Forward with Healthcare Exchange

State Representative John Patrick Carney is again calling on the administration to move forward with setting up a state run Health Benefits Exchange. On Tuesday, while speaking in Bowling Green Lt. Gov. and Director of the Department of Insurance Mary Taylor made clear Gov. Kasich’s administrations intentions to neglect setting up a health insurance market place required under the Affordable Care Act.  Lt. Gov. Taylor said “At this point, we are not going to set up a state-based exchange.”

“This administration and the Lt. Governor continue to put partisan politics over good policy that will benefit and protect Ohioans.  They have made it clear that they believe the federal government can manage Ohio’s robust health insurance industry better than they can,” Rep. Carney said.

According to the Ohio Association of Health Plans (OAHP), Ohio is ranked 6th in the nation as a Health insurance employer.  More than 46,000 people are employed in Ohio’s health insurance industry and in 2010 another 1,000 jobs were added to this sector of Ohio’s economy.  Of the 34 health insuring corporations listed in the Ohio Department of Insurance’s annual report 25 are domiciled in Ohio and could potentially be excluded from participation in a federally run exchange.  If these companies were to be excluded Ohio could lose out on the more that $200 million in premium taxes collected from these corporations.

“In addition to the economic blow we could suffer as a state, Ohio’s consumers would also lose out in a federally run exchange.  Ohio’s plans are consistently rated above the national average in consumer satisfaction and consistently below the national average in costs.  This is what the administration is choosing to give up in exchange for an applause line at political rallies.”

According to data on the OAHP’s website, 15 Ohio health plans were listed is U.S. News and World Report’s Top Health Plans rankings for Commercial, Medicare and Medicaid plans in 2010 and in 2011, JD Power and Associates reported that Ohio’s health plans rank three points above the national average in consumer satisfaction.

Rep. Carney introduced House Bill 412 earlier this year to establish The Ohio Health Benefit Exchange Agency with broad based support from consumers, health insurers, providers, and the business community.

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MUST READ: House Republican’s Sneak Attack on Women and Families

While House Democrats are working to create and maintain good paying jobs through programs focused on education like our Kids and Communities First Fund, just introduced, Republicans continue their partisan agenda attacking women’s rights, workers’ rights and voter’s rights.  Their effort to defund Planned Parenthood is just the latest example. Excerpts of an article by the Huffington Post are below:

“The GOP may insist that there is no war on women, but the campaign against Planned Parenthood, which provides health care to one in five American women each year, is gaining ground in the Midwest.

“Republican state representatives in Ohio slipped an amendment into the state’s substitute budget bill on Tuesday that puts family planning clinics like Planned Parenthood at the bottom of funding priorities and blocks them from receiving funding for cancer screenings and HIV and domestic violence services.

“Defunding Planned Parenthood through Ohio’s budget bill is a way for GOP lawmakers to pass the measure without having to vote on a separate bill, which would likely cause controversy. The Planned Parenthood amendment, introduced by Republicans in the House Finance Committee on Tuesday, puts family planning clinics that provide abortions in the bottom tier of priority for Title X funds, making it more likely that the state will run out of money before it can provide any funding to Planned Parenthood.

“The amendment further prohibits federal funds from the Minority HIV/AIDS Initiative, the Violence Against Women Act, the Breast and Cervical Cancer Mortality Prevention Act and the Infertility Prevention Project from going to Planned Parenthood or any other family planning clinic that provides abortions.

“The GOP-controlled House is expected to vote on the budget bill next week and pass it, with the amendment attached.

“’This House seems to stop at nothing to attack women and their reproductive rights, and in this case, their access to basic health care and cancer screenings,’ State Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D-Kent), a member of the House Finance Committee, told HuffPost. ‘It’s just a very tough legislature to be a part of.’

“Planned Parenthood Affiliates of Ohio said that of its 37 health centers, only three perform abortions, and none of the $1.7 million it receives in federal funding annually is used to pay for abortions. Opponents of the amendment are concerned that many of the rural and low-income women in Ohio who rely on Planned Parenthood clinics for basic health and family planning services will not have any nearby alternative if Planned Parenthood is stripped of funding.

“Republicans on the Finance Committee, however, ‘seem to be burying their head in the sand on that issue,’ Clyde said. ‘We’ve heard some pretty clear testimony that the services are not available — there’s already wait times, not enough doctors out there offering these services — but the Republicans seem to think that other types of health centers can pick up all of the extra demand and absorb all of these patients. I think that is completely false.’

“House Finance Chairman Rep. Ron Amstut (R-Wooster) and state Rep. Kristina Roegner (R-Hudson), who are pushing the amendment, did not respond to calls for comment.

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Read the full article here.


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