June 23, 2023
Dear Governor DeWine, Senate President Huffman, House Speaker Stephens, Minority Leader Russo, Minority Leader Antonio, and members of the Conference Committee,
We appreciate the time and attention you’ve given to the budget process. We recognize the volume of requests that have come your way in the last weeks and want to thank you for the opportunities created to discuss policy priorities across every sector. The Center for Community Solutions would like to address several areas of concern in the current version of House Bill 33 and provide some additional context for why these issues are so vital to the well-being of Ohioans as you reconcile the differences between the versions of the budget.
AGECD14 Healthy Aging Grants—Restore House-passed language
We request support for restoration to the As Introduced version of the Healthy Aging grants within the Department of Aging. These grants will be administered through local partners and can be used to help older Ohioans live safely in homes, which often only need minor modifications as folks age. Supports could include retrofitting the homes of older residents to address challenges with utilizing stairs, installing bathtub rails and providing other supports, like nutrition services and transportation. With an aging population, supporting these grants will go a long way in helping older Ohioans continue to live safely in their homes.
AGECD11 Senior Community Services—Restore As Introduced language
The reductions to the Senior Community Services line in the House and Senate passed versions, which supports the Older Americans Act, reduced Ohio’s ability to provide home-delivered meals, caregiver services and transportation to older adults. These reductions to matching dollars result in Ohio leaving federal money on the table. We ask for the restoration to the As Introduced version of the budget.
Women’s and children’s health
MCDCD52 Access to doulas—Restore House-passed language
We ask for restoration of the House-passed provision that creates a certification
process for doulas and provides Medicaid reimbursement for doula services. Ideally, we would like to see this happen through the budget process, as this would kickstart
the development of rules and a payment mechanism through Medicaid and support for doulas has been separately passed in each chamber over the last two General Assemblies. This issue has bipartisan support across both chambers and we implore the restoration of this provision.
MCDCD34 Medicaid coverage for children and pregnant women—Restore As Introduced and House-passed language
We support the Governor’s proposal to increase Medicaid eligibility to 300% of the federal poverty level for children and pregnant women and ask for the restoration of coverage to these populations. This policy will go a long way in ensuring continuity of coverage and access to care, especially during the critical postpartum period where we’re seeing increased maternal mortality and morbidity. This will also build upon the work done in the last state budget, inserted into the budget by the Senate, that expanded coverage for pregnant women from 60 days to 12 months postpartum.
MCDCD43 Continuous Medicaid coverage for kids—Restore House-passed language
To further build upon these beneficial coverage expansions, the House included continuous coverage for kids on Medicaid up to their 4th birthday in the budget. We think it is vitally important that the Senate restore this provision. Continuous coverage means that once a child in this age range is enrolled in Medicaid, they would stay enrolled without an annual redetermination, until the age the continuous coverage ends. It is our collective responsibility to keep Ohio’s children safe and healthy. It is critical that children have access to health coverage and restoring this policy in the Senate budget will make a big difference for keeping kids connected to health services.
Access to food and nutrition
JFSCD84 ABAWD waivers—Remove Senate-passed language
The prohibition of ODJFS from seeking a waiver from the SNAP time limit that applies to able-bodied adults without dependents would hamstring current and future Governors to decide for Ohio what is best for the state based on economic conditions. While the effect of eliminating time limit waivers may be small in the short-term, banning future use is short-sighted and we encourage removal of this provision.
JFSCD95 SNAP Photo IDs—Remove Senate-passed language
This misguided policy is expensive, ineffective and results in shaming of people enrolled in SNAP. SNAP already has anti-fraud measures in place and this photo ID provision would make it difficult to abide by federal regulations around SNAP. The Federal SNAP laws say that everyone in the household has to have access to use that card. Ultimately, this is an enormous burden on retailers and the county JFS agencies and should be removed from the budget.
Making Ohio the best place to live, work and raise a family
BORCD133, BORCD124, BORCD122, BORCD123, BORCD125 Senate Bill 83 provisions—Remove Senate-passed language
Senate Bill 83 moves Ohio in the wrong direction by going after the ability of state colleges and universities to do the important work of advancing diversity, equity and inclusion. To attract the most talented young people to live and learn, and someday work, at the growing industries in Ohio, we must all work toward empathy and understanding of people with diverse backgrounds. The provisions added to the budget from Senate Bill 83 fly in the face of the progress Ohio’s institutions of higher education are working toward.
In conclusion, we thank the members of the committee for taking this information into consideration as it moves toward compromise between the different versions of the budget. We are ready to work with committee members on making these changes.
John Corlett , President and Executive Director
Tara Britton, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy