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November 07, 2012 (Cleveland)
Moody Hears Coalition Message: Full Medicaid Expansion Crucial

Greg MoodyOn Oct. 22, the Northeast Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition (NEOMEC) met with Greg Moody, director of the Ohio Office of Health Transformation, to present the group’s common goal of expanding Ohio’s Medicaid program to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The group, composed of a wide range of community organizations including The Center for Health Affairs, spoke to Director Moody about the importance of statewide Medicaid expansion from a Northeast Ohio perspective. 

Specifically, coalition members highlighted the demographics of Northeast Ohio, including the fact that Cleveland is Ohio’s largest population center and one of America’s poorest cities. At the same time, the region is characterized by its nationally-ranked healthcare providers and innovative care coordination. Group members stressed that a full Medicaid expansion would not only strengthen the safety net for some of the state’s most vulnerable residents, but it would also ensure that the region’s healthcare providers, which collectively serve as an economic engine for Northeast Ohio, would remain financially viable as the other tenets of health reform take effect. 

Following the presentation by NEOMEC members, Moody thanked the group for their coordination and indicated that its highly-organized format, which included input from a wide range of organizations at one time, was efficient and should be duplicated in other region’s in the state. He also recommended additional advocacy focusing on members of the General Assembly. In response, the group has arranged an advocacy day in Columbus on Dec. 4, with leadership and key committee chairs. 

Though Director Moody was appreciative of the group’s efforts, he was candid about his concerns for Medicaid expansion. In particular, Moody expressed concern that the Medicaid program would be burdened by the costs associated with people who are currently eligible but not enrolled in Medicaid in 2014 when health reform’s individual mandate begins. He also indicated concern that the federal funding that is part of the equation today, may be taken away in the future ― a decision that would have serious negative consequences on the state budget. 

The Northeast Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition is a group of community organizations working together to expand Medicaid to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Formed shortly after the Supreme Court decision on health reform, which changed the Medicaid expansion provision to an option for states rather than a requirement, NEOMEC is working on a variety of advocacy strategies to help key stakeholders understand how crucial Medicaid expansion is in Northeast Ohio. 

For additional information on the Medicaid expansion, see The Center’s latest policy snapshot, Medicaid: Why Expanding Coverage Makes Sense . To learn more about NEOMEC, contact Ericka Thoms at 216.255.3610 or ericka.thoms@chanet.org.

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