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Healthcare Highlights from Governor Strickland's State of the State Address

The Governor painted a rather bleak picture of the state's tax revenue situation. In his upcoming budget he noted reductions in programs and services; a "modest" budget " within our means".  If Ohio continues to fund government at the current FY 09 levels we would be facing a $7.3 Billion deficit.  His proposal will reflect certain program reductions of 10-25% and will take into account one-time cash transfers, fee, fines and penalty increases and will manage Medicaid costs while not  raising taxes.

The budget will be $3.2 Billion lower than FY 2009 planning levels and will account for $3.4 billion in federal stimulus dollars.  He will freeze community college tuition for two years. Tuition at four-year institutions would be capped in 2010, and he said universities would be asked to limit
2011 tuition hikes to 3.5%.

The Governor will be supporting improved access to health care for children by making available to every child in families with income levels up to the 300% of poverty level access to health care coverage. Of course, for providers there is concern that the impact of raising to 300% might lead to struggling families with commercial insurance dropping the insurance and going for the free care.  Of course, some speculate that the "status" of being on a government program or free care will prohibit these families from seeking cost savings in this way. The Governor proposed that more choices be available in the long term care services for seniors and people with disabilities so that they can live in the least restrictive environments achieved through his unified long term care budget.

There will also be a 2nd job stimulus package introduced later this year.

The Governor also spent a significant amount of his speech on primary and secondary education highlighting a shift to a new system of financing its public schools and giving local districts new levy options.

Monday, February 2, 2009 the Governor will release his biennial budget and we will receive the General Assembly's lists of committee chairmanships and committee assignments.  That information is critical to our continuing lobbying and advocacy efforts and I will see that you get that information when it is released.

For a copy of the text from Governor Strickland's speech click here

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