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.”