Prioritizing the Whole Child for Health and Healing in Ohio’s Budget
March 16, 2023
This week, the Ohio House Finance Subcommittee on Health and Human Services met and heard from many different organizations and individuals during public testimony on House Bill 33, Ohio’s FY24-25 budget bill.
CDF-Ohio’s Interim Director Kim Eckhart and Senior Health Policy Associate Kelly Vyzral testified together, highlighting many different different key child health provisions in the budget we are advocating to protect as this process continues as well as many others left out we wan to be included.
“HB 33, as introduced, does much to invest in children and address their health and wellbeing and we applaud many of the provisions,” said Eckhart in testimony. “There are still many opportunities for the General Assembly to make other targeted investments to improve the health of children.”
Vyzral made an urgent call to support women and their children during this budget: “The budget is not just a fiscal document, it is a mirror by which we see what we value in our state. With this budget, Ohio has the opportunity to make positive strides forward in maternal and infant health. CDF-Ohio urges you to make healthy moms and babies a priority in this state budget.”
Together, they highlighted specific policies to promote child health, including:
- Prioritize child physical, mental, and behavioral health needs by protecting the critical provision included in the Governor’s budget to increase support of Medicaid for children whose household income is below 300% of the Federal Poverty Level.
- Expand critical children’s health access in Ohio’s schools by modernizing the Medicaid in Schools program to increase access for school-based children’s
mental health services. We urge for budget language (see here) to be included that
specifically directs the Ohio Department of Medicaid (ODM) to seek permission from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to reimburse schools for health services provided to any Medicaid-eligible student by the end of 2023.
- Ensure Medicaid coverage of doula care services. There is a strong and growing body of evidence that access to doula care during pregnancy reduces the incidence of preterm birth, the prevalence of cesarean births, and increases positive birth experience and healthy outcomes for both mother and child.
- Medicaid coverage of pregnant women and children up to 300% of poverty. Ensuring children in Ohio have access to affordable, quality health care during all stages of development is essential to their future health and success. As the cost of dependent coverage for all insurance continues to increase, expanding Medicaid and CHIP income eligibility would give more children of working parents access to healthcare coverage. This coverage is critical if we are serious about protecting pregnant women and children and improving the dismal health outcomes we currently see in Ohio.