Governor John Kasich’s new House Bill 49 raises some controversial budget cuts. If the bill is passed, many families in the special needs community may face problems with Medicaid and funding. The proposed budget cut will move The Bureau of Children with Medical Handicaps Program (BCMH) to the Ohio Department of Medicaid.
The cuts and the consequences
BCMH, a program in effect since 1919, currently administered by the Ohio Department of Health, gets its funding from state general revenue funds and donations. BCMH helps special needs families with multiple things, like co-pays and deductibles for medical supplies. With the new cuts proposed by Kasich, the services provided by BCMH will be administered under Medicaid, which means families will have to meet Medicaid’s financial guidelines and qualify for Medicaid to receive support under a new program called the Ohio Medicaid CMH program.
Those who may not qualify for Medicaid and the new program may be grandfathered into the existing program that will continue for a few years, and the grandfathered families in the previously established CMH program will remain there until their child ages-out of the program or their financial eligibility changes.
Families worry for the future but there is hope
While some people may be aware of this proposal, others may not. Families in the special needs community worry about what this bill will mean if passed. Many are reaching out to Governor Kasich with a petition. To view or sign, see “No To HB49, Changes to Children with Medical Handicaps Benefits” at thepetitionsite.com.
On March 23, 2017 the Health and Human Services finance subcommittee took testimony from special needs parents on the plan. They decided before the hearing even ended to reject the plan to overhaul BCMH. The subcommittee recommendation is expected to be adopted by the full House, essentially road-blocking that portion of the budget plan. The bill is scheduled to be studied in the Ohio Senate through this month, before circling back to the Governor in June. If the budget language is left unchanged, which now seems unlikely, and it is signed by the Governor, it will take effect on July 1, 2017.