Ohio AAP Applauds Governor DeWine’s Children Focused Budget

On March 15, Governor DeWine unveiled his first two-year operating budget. Overall, the budget follows through on campaign promises made by DeWine to provide greater investments for kids. In the education space, DeWine is seeking more than $500 million in new funding for wraparound services that could include healthcare-related activities.

Hearings regarding the budget began this week and the budget must be signed by June 30th. In the healthcare space, DeWine proposed several new investments in children, public health, and drug addiction treatment and recovery.

Some of the healthcare highlights from the budget are:

  • DeWine proposed increasing the age of purchase for tobacco products to 21. According to some media reports, this does not include vaping products, however we will not see actual language until later this week at the earliest. Office of Management and Budget documents seem to indicate that e-cigarettes will be included—we will confirm this as soon as possible.
  • At the Ohio Department of Health, DeWine’s budget increases funding for Help Me Grow, the Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps, and programs focused on preventing drug overdoses. The budget does not seek an increase in tobacco cessation funding or other changes to tobacco taxes.
  • DeWine committed to preserving Medicaid Expansion in the budget and the Executive budget maintains the program. Medicaid spending remains under the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee per member per month growth caps. While not reflected in the Blue Book, Ohio Department of Medicaid will seek several policy changes during the budget process. These Include:
    • Revisiting efforts to adopt a single PDL for pharmacy benefits
    • Modifying the current CPC model with a focus on pediatrics
    • Expanding covered services for autism
    • Increasing the use of Telehealth in schools and the behavioral health space
    • Seeking a CMS waiver to cover new mothers for 12 months after a birth
    • Creating a new program for co-treatment of drug addicted mothers and NAS babies
    • $5M investment to create the Ohio Books from Birth Foundation to provide all Ohio children with a monthly book for the first five years of their life
  • Outside of the budget, Medicaid will continue efforts to rebid its managed care contracts and could announce a timeline for that process this week. Areas of focus for managed care re-procurement include foster kids, infants, and pregnant mothers. Director Corcoran will discuss these items further later this week in her first appearance before the House Finance Committee.
  • In budgets for the Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services, DeWine is seeking more funds for kids in foster care and children with special needs.  DeWine is also seeking new funding and programming related to lead abatement across multiple agencies.

Melissa Wervey Arnold, CEO of the Ohio AAP, stated “It is clear to the pediatric community in Ohio that this Governor has focused on kids since his campaign and continued that commitment today by aligning children’s priorities with the investment of funding to improve child health and wellness in Ohio. It is exciting to see the Governor’s dedication to the youngest and most vulnerable in our state; investing early to deliver life-long improved outcomes for these children and their families.”

Please contact Melissa Wervey Arnold with questions by calling 614-846-6258 or emailing at marnold@ohioaap.org.

Links to budget resources:

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