The Plain Dealer, March 8, 2011
Ohio's prolonged economic recession has continued to erode health coverage for families across the state, according to a government-funded report. The 2010 Ohio Family Health Survey, which state agencies depend on to design budgets, reveals increases in the number of uninsured at all ages, and rising enrollment in Medicaid, the government health insurance for the poor. The findings set the stage for a heated debate over how much the state will continue to spend on Medicaid. Gov. John Kasich's executive budget proposal is due on March 15 and Medicaid is the single most expensive and frustrating item in the state's ailing budget, which faces an $8 billion deficit. More than 2 million Ohioans are now enrolled in Medicaid, and the ranks are growing. Overall state enrollment in Medicaid increased more than 17% since 2004, adding 227,161 adults and 209,115 children to the roster, and 55% of that increase occurred in the past two years.