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Ohio Medicaid to Become Stand Alone Agency

The plan is to make Ohio Medicaid a cabinet-level agency starting halfway through the next two year budget cycle on July 1, 2014. Right now Medicaid is housed in the Department of Job and Family Services, but is also administered by five other state agencies.  Greg Moody is the head of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation.

“We realized that the organization of the program itself was stifling innovation," says Moody.

Medicaid is a nearly $19 billion program – it’s a third of the state budget and growing. But Moody says this move isn’t designed to cut the budget.

“The short term objection is not to save money. We are not planning a reduction in force. We are not planning a reduction of resources that are available to counties to administer the program. This is about organizing to be smarter and more efficient, and hopefully that will generate savings into the future,” says Moody.

And Moody hints that this is just the first of big changes to come in the Medicaid program, but says the state’s 2.2 million Medicaid recipients and 75,000 providers shouldn’t notice any changes.

“It does not change benefits, it doesn’t change the relationship with the providers who provide these services.  However, I would say that we are looking at changes in the Medicaid program in the next budget,” says Moody.

And Moody says this move has nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act, the health insurance law upheld by the US Supreme Court in June. The idea to make Medicaid its own agency isn’t new.  The recommendation has been made three times before, by a legislative commission in 2005, by a team created by lawmakers in 2006, and again that same year in a report by the state auditor.