Consumers Respond to Kasich's Approach to Health Insurance Exchange

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

Friday, November 16, 2012

“Millions of Ohioans are benefitting from the Affordable Care Act and affordable health care is around the corner for hundreds of thousands more Ohioans when the law is fully implemented in 2014. The Exchange and Medicaid expansion are two critical pieces of assuring that all Ohioans have insurance coverage.

Today’s announcement from the Kasich Administration to concede many of the Exchange operations to the federal government comes as no surprise. Given the lack of opportunity for consumer input at the state level and the Administration’s resistance to the consumer protections, we are likely better off with a large federal role in Ohio’s Exchange at this point.

However, there is bi-partisan support across the range of stakeholders for the state to operate the Exchange so this decision may and can evolve over time. And, we need a public process to evaluate the advantages and disadvantages, and the opportunities and challenges of each option. We are willing to work with the Administration and other stakeholders on creating a state-based Exchange that works for consumers and small businesses.

It makes sense that the state is retaining oversight of Medicaid eligibility. We have supported the Administration’s positive work in streamlining Medicaid eligibility and improving quality of care for vulnerable populations. We encourage them to implement the full Medicaid expansion so that low income, non-disabled adults without children can have access to quality, affordable health care.

We are disappointed the Administration makes no mention of consumer assistance which is a function the state can choose to operate under a partnership Exchange. It should be among the highest priorities. Regardless of who is responsible for consumer assistance and outreach, there needs to be an open and inclusive planning process--a process that needs to start now.”

This statement can be attributed to Col Owens and Cathy Levine, Co-Chairs of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage (OCHC) on the Administration’s plan for Ohio’s Health Insurance Exchange.

Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage is a nonpartisan coalition uniting the diverse consumer voice with the goal of achieving affordable, high quality health care for all. Our membership includes AFSCME Council 8 AFL-CIO, Alliance for Retired Americans in Ohio, American Cancer Society East Central Division, Contact Center, Faith Community Alliance of Greater Cincinnati, Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio, National Alliance for Mental Illness of Ohio, National Multiple Sclerosis Society Ohio Chapters, Ohio Asian American Health Coalition, The Ohio Association of Centers for Independent Living, Ohio Council of Churches, Ohio Federation of Teachers, Progress Ohio, Service Employees International Union District 1199, Toledo Area Jobs with Justice and Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition, United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1059, UHCAN Ohio, and We Are The Uninsured.