The much anticipated U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Affordable Care Act (AKA “Obamacare”) has been released, giving the talking heads much to do their spin on. For us at OPA what is most important is that key healthcare decisions will be made by our state government and OPA must be at the tables where this is being discussed and decided. APA’s response highlights the important role that state psychological associations will play as work on healthcare reform moves forward.
Key issues for us in Ohio are the establishment of insurance exchanges to make insurance more accessible for many Ohioans and the expansion of Medicaid. The Urban Institute estimates that 57 percent or 789,000 of Ohio’s uninsured non-elderly adults would be covered by Medicaid expansion. Universal coverage will be virtually achieved as state government acts in these two areas. This can result in tremendous opportunities for psychology.
The state is concerned about funding the Medicaid expansion. A key issue is that many of those currently eligible for Medicaid but not registered will come forward now and place an extra burden on the system. The Office of Health Transformation is working on refining the Medicaid program in Ohio so that it can manage this increase coverage level. Federal funding will be available to help with the expansion through the Affordable Care Act.
OPA and partners in several coalitions are offering input to the state and strong encouragement to move forward. Ohio can’t be left behind. I’d like to hear from you, our members, about your hopes, expectations and fears as this moves forward.
Watch for announcements about several relevant programs at our 2012 Convention, October 24-26 in Columbus. It is important that we all endeavor to learn as much as possible about these complex issues so that we can be well positioned to impact the conversations about them.
We are establishing a Health Care Reform Task Force to help guide our efforts with the Kasich Administration, the Ohio Legislature, and APA/Federal Advocacy. Contact me or current President John Rudisill to be a part of this important effort. This is a critical point in the future of healthcare and your involvement will make a difference.