Cleveland: Local residents eager for Medicaid expansion

6:09 PM, Oct 21, 2013   |    comments
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CLEVELAND -- Linda Zolten Wood is a self-employed artist poised to start having health care coverage through Ohio's expansion of Medicaid.

Late Monday afternoon, the State Controlling Board gave Gov. John Kasich the authority to spend about $2.5 billion of federal money to enact that.

Linda's a painter. She accepts work on commission. Her painting, "You are There," is one of the pieces of art adorning Cleveland's Collinwood Recreation Center.

Her husband, Doug, is a guitar-playing musician.

But artists must be flexible to survive.

She's also making money now painting brightly colored scenes on rain barrels.

"We make beautiful things out of nothing," she says.

"Nothing" also describes the health care coverage. They are uninsured.

They formerly had insurance.

"The premiums went up 200 percent for one year for no reason," she said.

Now they curb their health spending, limiting it to bare-bones basics.

"On the most part, you do't go to the doctor. ... I haven't have had glasses in five years. You just make do," she says.

And her husband, who developed adult-onset asthma, frequently does without his needed inhaler.

"It's $120 a pop. ... It's not always feasible to get everything he needs. Even the generics are expensive,"she added.

She and her husband had made too much money to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to get insurance supplements through the Affordable Care Act.

"We're falling the gap," she said.

She's been working to promote Medicaid expansion through Trinity Cathedral's involvement in the greater Cleveland conversations.

She says passage of Medicaid would mean a lot to her family and many more.

She has never been a big fan of Kasich.

But she gives him credit for bucking his own party to help between 275,000 and 330,000 Ohioans like her.

There will be legal challenges to expansion.

And the state would need time to activate online enrollment. The site would be www.benefits.ohio.gov for potential new Medicad members.

Coverage would theoretically start on Jan. 1.



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