The Controlling Board, a state legislative panel which oversees spending federal funds, voted October 21, 2013 to accept $2.56 billion from the federal government to extend Medicaid coverage to approximately 300,000 low income Ohioans. The expansion would allow, among others, childless adults earning up to 138% of the federal poverty level (approximately $16,000 for one person ) to be eligible for health care under Medicaid.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will fully fund the Medicaid expansion for three years. After three years, the federal funding is gradually reduced until it reaches 90% in 2020.
Critics of the Medicaid expansion believe that any federal funding reductions will eventually create a devastating financial burden on Ohio. Additionally, some people disagree with Governor Kasich’s use of the Controlling Board, instead of the full state legislature, to approve the expansion. However, unless challenged, eligibility under the expansion will begin January 1, 2014. Ohio will be the 25th state, plus the District of Columbia, to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.