Ohio AAP Wins the Battle to Keep BCMH

Ohio House republicans announced they plan to strip from the state budget the proposed changes to the Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps (BCMH), thanks to the advocacy efforts of the Ohio Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics (Ohio AAP).

As part of his two-year, $66.9 billion budget, Gov. John Kasich proposed moving the BCMH program into Ohio Medicaid. Families currently receiving BCMH services would have stayed on the program, but a child born in Ohio, whose parents do not meet the Medicaid poverty criteria for BCMH (225% of the federal poverty level), would have no longer been eligible for BCMH services.

The Ohio AAP opposed these harmful cuts because BCMH is a safety net for families who have insurance but can’t afford the high costs of illnesses and conditions like cystic fibrosis, blood disorders and spina bifida. The Ohio AAP’s advocacy team worked for over a month and a half, held many meetings with families and legislators to gather stories and discuss the benefits and challenges of the BCMH program.

Jim Duffee, MD, MPH, FAAP, testified before the House Health and Human Services finance subcommittee on behalf of the Ohio AAP on Thursday, March 23.

“Because of the high likelihood of harm to Ohio’s children with special needs, the Ohio AAP cannot support the proposed structural changes to the program, the transition of children with medical complexity to managed care, or the future limitations in eligibility that are included in the proposed operating budget,” Dr. Duffee told the committee.

Several families with children with disabilities also made pleas to the committee in their testimony.

Before the committee hearing even ended, committee chair Rep. Mark Romanchuk, announced his committee would recommend the cuts would be pulled from the budget. The Ohio AAP will continue to fight for children with medical handicaps and keep these cuts out of the state budget.

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