State reps. Nickie Antonio (D-Lakewood) and John Carney (D-Columbus) penned an open letter following reports that the Kasich administration will not be setting up a state based health insurance exchange, as directed under the Affordable Care Act.
The letter was sent to the Governor, the state’s Insurance Director, Ohio Medicaid Director and Health Transformation Director.
Dear Governor Kasich,
For the past year, we have been urging your administration to move forward with setting up a Health Insurance Exchange. We introduced legislation (HB 412) and held several meetings with representatives of patients, physicians, insurers, agents, hospitals, nurses and other stakeholders. Through these discussions, we were able to craft a sensible compromise bill that was agreeable to all stakeholders.
In spite of the broad consensus we have achieved in our compromise bill, you have declared that Ohio will not be establishing its own Health Insurance Exchange. Instead, you will leave the job to the federal government.
Ohioans will be worse off if you allow the federal government to set up a Health Insurance Exchange. Instead of catering to the distinct needs of Ohio’s consumers, insurers, and health care professionals, a federally-run exchange would impose upon us a one-size-fits-all model, over which we would have little to no control. Most importantly, a federally-run exchange is an open invitation for federal bureaucrats to run a program that would be better administered by our citizens who are undoubtedly more familiar with Ohio’s healthcare marketplace.
Fortunately, there is still time to change course and reach a bipartisan solution, as the deadline has been extended to December 14. There are still federal grants available to establish a state based exchange and your administration should be working to recoup as many of our federal tax dollars as possible. I urge you and your administration to call upon your allies in the legislature to move forward and do the right thing.
We stand ready to work with you or any of our Republican colleagues in the Ohio House or Senate who are interested in forging a compromise with the Obama Administration on the best way to create a marketplace for Ohioans to purchase health insurance. After all, the ability to provide quality, affordable health insurance for Ohio families is not a Democratic or Republican issue, it is a human rights issue.
John Patrick Carney, State Representative 22nd Ohio House District
Nickie Antonio, State Representative 13th Ohio House District