NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio first started sounding the alarm on the budget in February. The first version of the budget written by the Kasich administration created a coverage gap for low-income women. If they were between 138% and 200% of the Federal Poverty Level, they would lose access to three Medicaid Optional programs: a breast & cervical cancer treatment program, a family planning program, and… wait for it… a program TO REDUCE INFANT MORTALITY. Reducing infant mortality is John Kasich’s favorite topic to talk about and then neglect.
BIG NEWS: The coverage gap is closing! According to Statehouse news bureau Gongwer:
Despite initially introducing budget language that would end Medicaid eligibility for higher income pregnant women, the Kasich Administration is working to ensure such coverage remains intact. Office of Health Transformation Director Greg Moody said providing the health care entitlement to pregnant women above 138% of the federal poverty level tops the list of things his agency would like to see resolved as lawmakers finalize the Fiscal Years 2016-2017 spending bill (HB 64*). …
The executive budget proposed eliminating a requirement that the Medicaid program set the income eligibility threshold for pregnant women at 200% FPL – above the 138% FPL coverage threshold established for low-income adults under Medicaid expansion. The House included the administration’s policy in its version of the budget.
This victory is a great win for Ohio women, thanks to the Pro-Choice champions who advocated for the fix. In addition to testimony from NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio’s Deputy Director Jaime Miracle, we saw intense questioning of the Medicaid Director in committee. Rep. Nicki Antonio, Rep. Kathleen Clyde, and Rep. Emilia Sykes all peppered Office of Health Transformation Director Greg Moody with questions. Rep. Sykes followed up the pressure on the Ohio House floor during the budget debate. (VIDEO) This weekend, Rep. Dan Ramos advocated for the fix in the Morning Journal.
Shockingly — GASP! — Ohio Right to Life has not spoken up restore health care coverage to help pregnant women have healthy pregnancies.
There’s still room for improvement. The Medicaid Optional programs for family planning and the breast & cervical cancer treatment program are still unavailable to women in the coverage gap. The budget must be signed by June 30. Will progress continue? Stay tuned.
Help build a pro-choice Ohio. Every day, NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio fights to protect access to the full range of reproductive health care options—including preventing unintended pregnancy, bearing healthy children, and legal abortion care. We educate the public about the real threat to women’s healthcare posed by anti-choice legislation and policies. We mobilize pro-choice Ohioans to take political action to defend reproductive rights. And we are the voice for Ohio’s abortion clinics, helping them navigate the increasingly hostile climate created by extremist groups. But we need your help. As a member organization, we rely on your financial support to fund our important legislative, educational, and grassroots activities.