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Published: Saturday, 4/13/2013

Time to rethink Medicaid reach


In response to Blade Editor David Kushma’s April 7 op-ed column, “Kasich’s budget: Keep the good stuff, ax the bad”: I’m particularly interested in the Medicaid expansion issue.

Mr. Kushma stated this expansion would provide health insurance to 25,000 poor people in Lucas County, and “that would make them less likely to seek expensive emergency-room care when they get sick, and to stick Ohioans who have health coverage with the bill.”

I understand the purpose of the Affordable Care Act. But people who qualify for Medicaid always have had access to health care in outpatient clinics, both specialty and internal medicine. Is there a plan to reform the people who choose to go to emergency rooms and/or urgent care centers, despite primary care availability?

The plan under this expansion is to create a “personal accountability disincentive,” a whopping $8 emergency room co-pay for Medicaid recipients. The purpose of the minimal co-pay is to foster more individual responsibility, and to try to make people think twice about using emergency centers inappropriately for something that would be better addressed in a primary-care setting.

I’ve been a registered nurse for 50 years, both in clinical and outpatient settings. Medicaid recipients have been provided free transportation, the same high-quality care as those with private insurance, and medication samples if they did not meet their spend-down requirement. Yet overuse of the emergency room remains an issue, as it is so much more convenient.

My emergency room co-pay is $50, and I pay a hefty insurance premium as well. My tax dollars continue to support the Medicaid population.

When I see people with thousands of dollars on their food stamp allotment, I feel that perhaps some of that money could go for medical benefits, so my tax dollars are more wisely distributed.


Firethorne Drive

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