Medicaid expands in Ohio to include 275,000 more people - 21 News Now, More Local News for Youngstown, Ohio -

Medicaid expands in Ohio to include 275,000 more people

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - In a bold move Ohio's Republican Governor bypasses the state legislature, to get approval to expand Medicaid in Ohio.

Governor John Kasich received the thumbs up for his plan from the state Controlling Board to accept more than $2.5-Billion in federal funds, and expand the program to an additional 275,000 Ohioans.

It's another component of the Affordable Care Act, and Ohio is the 25th state to agree to the expansion.

Robert Hagan, a State Representative and Democrat said, "It took a lot to get the Governor to come out. But you got to give the guy kudos for it, give him credit, he was able to twist a couple of arms and get this on the controlling board."

So what does a Medicaid expansion in Ohio mean? The federal poverty level has been expanded to 138-percent. For example a one person household making $16,000 a year would now qualify.

"Well 275,000 people now can be covered, not to mention over 40 to 50,000 veterans who fell below the 138-percent of the poverty line. This is big. This is part of the Obamacare program, the Affordable Care Act, and I think we're moving in the right direction," Representative Hagan said.

Bob Bush, the Executive Director of Mahoning County's Job & Family Services tells 21 News, "In Mahoning County we're looking at an additional 5,000 that would be eligible. However, they still have to go through that federal web site in order to obtain insurance privately before they come on the Medicaid side."

Valley Congressman Tim Ryan says it's definitely a move in the right direction to drive down costs, and promote preventative healthcare for Ohioans.

"I'm thrilled. I think this is a key component of the Affordable Care Act and I think it was a great move, and I'm glad it's happening in Ohio. There's going to be close to 300,000 Ohioans who will now have access to quality health care and that means healthier students, a healthier workforce," Congressman Ryan said.

Currently, one in five Ohioans are already receiving Medicaid.

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