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Voice of the people

Sep. 07, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

Time for Medicaid expansion in Ohio

West Virginia and Kentucky have done it. Now, it's time for Ohio to do so. That is, it's time for Medicaid "expansion" in the Buckeye state.

Medicaid "expansion" will allow 275,000 more Ohioans to have access to health care by increasing the income threshold to 138 percent of poverty from the current 90 percent level in Ohio.

"Expansion" will make primary health care, dental services and mental health care available to poor and working poor who cannot now receive those services.

Billions of extra federal tax dollars will flow into Ohio, county tax revenue will rise and employment rates will go up as a result of the "expansion."

And, should Ohio join West Virginia and Kentucky in a Medicaid "expansion," there will be less use of expensive local hospital emergency rooms for what start out as basic health problems and turn into untreated medical emergencies.

The availability of preventative Medicaid care should help reduce uncompensated hospital emergency room care and lower insurance and hospital rates for all Ohioans.

Because Ohio will pay nothing for "expansion" in the first three years, the investment in the health of working-age Ohioans may turn out a windfall return for Ohio.

Mark Cardosi

Portsmouth, Ohio

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