Editorial: Help folks navigate Medicaid changes


A recent editorial by the Toledo Blade:

Long before the pandemic struck, navigating Medicaid was tough for the average applicant and recipient. There’s no need to make it tougher with changes on the way when the coronavirus public health emergency ends.

A modest proposal by some Ohio legislators makes sense. Hire some help to make sure people who need it and qualify stay on Medicaid. That’s good policy, and a way to avoid people falling out of the safety net. The last thing Ohio needs is people who are working and then penalized for making some money by losing their Medicaid.

It’s a very complicated situation, but it comes down to changes during the pandemic. Ohio wanted, understandably, to keep federal Medicaid dollars. During the pandemic, that required the state to keep folks on the rolls until the federal health emergency ended. That effectively stopped redeterminations. In July, they start up again. Estimates are that hundreds of thousands of Ohioans could lose coverage. That would be foolish and cost money in the long run.

Keeping people healthy saves taxpayer dollars. The best care is preventive care and early detection of serious illness. Those are things that Medicaid provides.

It’s not wrong to hire an outside vendor to screen Medicaid redeterminations. What must be avoided is making alleged savings a priority. That may sound great. But cutting people off of health care creates hazards and expenses down the road.

Providing helpers to work with people on their Medicaid redeterminations is sound policy and forward thinking about the cost to taxpayers of people who can’t afford to pay for the costs of serious illness.

Staying on Medicaid might save them and their fellow citizens.

— Toledo Blade, April 17