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March 18, 2013 (Cleveland)

Medicaid Expansion Advocacy Targets Northeast Ohio Lawmakers

NewsMedicaid Expansion advocacy efforts at The Center have targeted Northeast Ohio lawmakers in the last several weeks. In collaboration with spokespersons from member hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic, University Hospitals, MetroHealth Medical Center and the Sisters of Charity Health System, The Center has met with Republican Representatives Nan Baker, Marlene Anielski and Mike Dovilla to urge them to support Medicaid expansion

In each of these meetings, the group has collectively covered several topics that highlight the importance of Medicaid expansion from both a provider and patient perspective. The Center’s Medicaid expansion advocacy message focused on the current hospital environment and economic arguments that support Medicaid expansion. In particular, The Center’s president and CEO, Bill Ryan, countered the notion that hospitals can afford to give up additional reimbursement and that failure to expand Medicaid would not truly harm hospitals. 

“There’s this common misperception that hospitals are floating in dough and that they can afford to take the cuts that were part of the ACA as well as those that are in the state budget and end up okay. It’s simply not true,” said Ryan. In addition, Mr. Ryan pointed out that hospitals are top employers in the region, accounting for 168,000 jobs and $10 billion in employee income, making Medicaid expansion crucial not just for hospital financial stability but also for regional economic stability. 

The group also highlighted how Medicaid expansion would benefit people without insurance and people with behavioral health issues; how it would promote efficient care by expanding access, thereby reducing the number of “hot spotters;” and how Medicaid expansion would benefit the entire family and promote quality care. Each lawmaker spent a long time listening to the provider perspective and expressed their appreciation for the information provided, though each also voiced concerns about moving forward with expansion. The potential cost of the program and its impact on the federal deficit was commonly cited as a concern, as was the possibility of creating a “culture of dependency.” 

In the coming weeks The Center will continue its Medicaid expansion advocacy efforts and invites you to make your voice heard, as well. If you are interested in contacting your lawmaker, you can find resources to help guide your communication with lawmakers in the contact your legislator section of our website. You may also contact Deanna Moore at deanna.moore@chanet.org or 216.255.3614 for additional information.


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