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[MM Curator Summary]: Because reasons. Not very confident the reasons given mean much.
COLUMBUS — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine made dozens of line-item vetoes before signing the state’s $191 billion budget on Monday.
One of those line items dealt with being able to use Medicaid funding to cover doulas for expectant mothers.
News 5 Evening Anchor Courtney Gousman dug into the issue to find out why the governor nixed the issue and how those backing the bill feel about it.
That line item was originally introduced in the state house by former State Representative Erica Crawley from Columbus.
Crawley, who authored the bill, which was introduced in 2019, would create a program that would allow doulas for pregnant women to be covered by Medicaid funding.
Doulas are trained professionals who serve as social and emotional support for pregnant women, as well as advocates during pre and postnatal care.
Studies show when doulas are involved, maternal and infant mortality rates dramatically decrease, saving lives.
Crawley told Courtney Medicaid pays for 51% of the births in the state, and it makes sense for Medicaid to pay for doula coverage for pregnant women.
Crawley is now a Franklin County Commissioner and is actively advocating for this piece of legislation, which she tells Courtney, has bipartisan support.
“The funding has not been there. If it was, then you wouldn’t hear me trying to push legislation asking for more funding to be available through Medicaid, and so I think this continues to be smoke and mirrors to continue to kick the can down the road,” Crawley said.
Courtney reached out to the governor’s office to find out why he chose to remove the item from the state budget. She was told it was a technical amendment due to the bill’s language.
DeWine, along with the state’s Medicaid Director, Maureen Corcoran, addressed the issue during Wednesday’s budget briefing.
“We’re very much in favor of doulas; in fact, we provide that for that and intended to provide that for that. I’ll let the director take the rationale, but the policy is we understand doulas can be very helpful, very effective. We’re for that,” DeWine said.
Corcoran said it was a technical amendment.
“Governor, so you got it right on the nose. It was a technical amendment. It finally establishes for us a regular framework so we can expand the coverage and the ability to utilize doulas that we’re already using on a smaller scale in Medicaid,” Corcoran said.
Corcoran said the state is still working to implement a doula program statewide that would be covered by Medicaid, and they are still working to piece together the framework with the nursing board.
The hope is to have something by January or soon thereafter, Corcoran said.
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