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Open letter to Ohio House Representatives regarding Medicaid Expansion and Cuyahoga County’s Citizens

4/12/2013
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April 12, 2013

Representative Marlene Anielski
Ohio House District 6
77 S. High St
12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
 
Representative Mike Dovilla
Ohio House District 7
77 S. High St
13th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
 
 Representative Nan A. Baker
Ohio District 16
77 S. High St
12th Floor
Columbus, OH 43215
 

SUBJ:  Medicaid Expansion and Cuyahoga County’s Citizens

Dear Representatives Anielski, Dovilla, and Baker:

We write as members of the Cuyahoga County Council to express our deep concern over reports that some Ohio House members intend to reject Medicaid coverage for almost 75,000 Cuyahoga County citizens.  This decision will hurt mostly the working poor in our community, but it threatens the entire region’s health and wellness.  And it will impede the steady economic and social progress we have worked so hard to restore over the past two years in this new charter government.  We support the proposed expansion of Medicaid because it means more Cuyahoga County residents provided with basic health care at less cost to the county and the state, more jobs in Cuyahoga County, and increased sales tax revenues in Cuyahoga County.

The independent Health Policy Institute of Ohio (HPIO) projects that the proposed Medicaid expansion would result in health care for up to 89,000 Cuyahoga County residents by 2022.   The costs of that coverage, primarily borne by the federal government, will reduce our region’s increasing uncompensated care burden. The MetroHealth System, our public hospital, cares for tens of thousands of uninsured or underinsured patients annually.  The Cleveland Clinic Foundation, University Hospitals of Cleveland, and St. Vincent Charity Medical Center likewise bear 

significant costs of uncompensated care.  All of these systems see increased emergency room use and patients with unmanaged chronic diseases – primarily due to a lack of access to the basic health care that most of us take for granted.      

HPIO also projects some 4300 new jobs in Cuyahoga County by 2015 as a result of Medicaid expansion.  Among the industries projected to increase employment are health care, insurance, construction and retail.   And, sales tax revenues, hard hit by the recession, and just now beginning to show signs of an uptick, are expected to rise with the increased economic activity due to Medicaid expansion.  Cuyahoga County is projected to see an additional $6.5M annually in managed care sales tax revenues and $2.5M annually in other sales tax revenues.  That is $9M in additional annual revenues to Cuyahoga County if Ohio chooses to do the right thing.   

All across the State of Ohio, increased access to health care, more jobs, and greater tax revenues are projected if the proposed Medicaid expansion is authorized.   But nowhere will those impacts be greater than in Cuyahoga County.  We join our voices with all those who care about the health of Ohio citizens and the state’s economy. We urge you to vote to expand Medicaid in the State of Ohio.  

Sincerely,

C. Ellen Connally, President

Dan Brady, Vice President

 Dale Miller, District 2

Pernel Jones, Jr., District 8

Chuck Germana, District 4

Yvonne M. Conwell, District 7

Julian Rogers, District 10 Sunny M. Simon, District 11