Columbus: Lawmakers get healthcare while debating Medicaid expansion

6:53 PM, May 1, 2013   |    comments
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COLUMBUS -- It's almost certain that Ohio lawmakers will not expand Medicaid in the budget they are debating now.

But most lawmakers don't have to worry about having their medical bills paid.

They get a generous health insurance plan funded by taxpayers.

88 of 99 House members and 28 of 33 Senators participate in the health care plan.

Taxpayers foot the bill for about 85 cents of every dollar of their doctor and hospital bills.

Critics call that a double standard, even hypocrisy.

The Reverend Gayle Catinella has made seven trips to Columbus to testify before or meet with lawmakers and state officials about extending Medicaid.

As a Reverend, it's a professional issue for her less fortunate church members at Berea's St. Thomas Episcopal Church but it's also a personal issue.

Her 24-year-old son has speech challenges, a disability that makes it unlikely he'll ever get a full-time job with benefits.

She does not want to say lawmakers are less caring.

"I would like them to give my son the kind of benefits he needs to be a productive citizen of the state of Ohio," she says.

The Medicaid expansion proposal is on life support. Lawmakers have held the door open to discussing Medicaid reform later in the year.

Governor John Kasich is trying to work out a compromise with federal officials.

275,000 less fortunate or  challenged Ohioans have a stake in this.


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