Ohio Governor Kasich Budgets For Medicaid Expansion, Tax Cuts And Increases
Ohio's budget director says the governor's two-year spending plan would continue to fund an expansion of the Medicaid health program.
Republican Gov. John Kasich's administration extended Medicaid eligibility in 2013 to cover thousands more low-income residents, as allowed under President Barack Obama's health care law. Kasich needs legislative approval to continue funding it after June.
Budget director Tim Keen said Monday that Kasich's budget appropriates money to continue the expansion.
Obama's law calls for Washington to pay the full cost of the extension through 2016 and 95 percent in 2017, so Ohio will have to kick in some money to support the expansion.
Ohio Medicaid also will seek authority from federal officials to charge a monthly premium to recipients at or above 100 percent of the federal poverty level.
Gov. John Kasich is proposing additional cuts to Ohio's income tax and a $120 million debt relief fund to help residents repay college loans.
Among ways the Republican governor pays for the programs are a tax increase on oil-and-gas drilling and an increase in the tax on cigarettes from $1.25 to $2.25 a pack.
Kasich said Monday that the budget allows more Ohioans to take early college courses, to access college and secure good jobs in the state. The plan caps tuition hikes at 2 percent the first year and freezes tuitions in the second year.
The income-tax rate would be cut by 23 percent over the next two years under the plan. The top rate would decrease from about 5.9 percent in 2011 to 4.1 percent in 2017.