Gov. John Kasich adds autism treatment services to Ohio’s health insurance plans

Published: Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 6:00 PM
Updated: Friday, December 21, 2012 @ 6:00 PM

Insurance coverage for autism services, including critical applied behavior analysis, would be available to all state employees and individuals purchasing health insurance through state-based exchanges under plans announced Friday by Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Autism services, including up to 20 hours of behavioral treatment a week, would be defined as part of the “essential health benefit” package mandated by the state and required under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The federal health care law requires every state to offer minimum insurance benefits to its residents beginning in 2014 when the on-line health exchanges are scheduled to launch. But the law also allows states to define specific benefits.

In addition to making autism services a mandated benefit in Ohio’s private insurance market, Kasich proposes expanding the benefit to all state employees. That would require the approval of the state’s five employee unions because the essential benefit requirement wouldn’t automatically apply to the state’s self-insured health plans.

“The governor has said we choose to subject (the state) to the mandate,” said Greg Moody, who heads Gov. Kasich’s Office of Health Transformation. “That requires a negotiation with the unions. We hope and expect that that will be a constructive, positive process.”

If the unions agree, autism services would be available to all state employees and their nearly 40,000 children. One in 88 children is diagnosed with autism, which is the fastest-growing developmental disability in the United States, according to government data.

Lisa Houseworth, director of Trumpet Behavioral Health in Dayton, applauded the governor’s efforts but said “it’s about time” the state provided coverage for autism treatment, noting 32 states, including all of Ohio’s neighbors, already offer such coverage.

“Right now, there’s no real mechanism in Ohio to get behavioral treatment for autism because most insurances don’t cover it,” Houseworth said. “Ohio definitely needs to get in the ballgame and get it covered.”

Houseworth said many of the autistic kids she sees have their treatments paid for privately, which can put tremendous financial strain on the families.

“I have a family where the dad just got a second job, and they just took out a second mortgage on their home to cover the treatment,” she said.

Moody said Ohio’s new health care mandate would also help control costs for businesses that provide private health care coverage for their employees. Most large companies use self-insured health plans.

“If we didn’t have this, the federal government very well could come in and say we’re going to pick the autism benefit for you, and this is what it is,” Moody said. “Instead of losing control of that process, I like the idea that we’re acting now to create certainty for businesses.”

John Kasich explains what’s up between Katy Perry and Taylor Swift

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:52 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:52 PM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich has been all over TV lately as he pushes his book ‘Two Paths.’

On Wednesday, he co-hosted The View and offered some thoughts on the feud between Taylor Swift and Katy Perry.

“Well it’s shocking everybody,” Kasich said after being asked by Whoopi Goldberg to explain the rivalry. “Don’t ever steal anybody’s dancers, is the message.”

The governor tweeted later that he hopes “these two can Shake It Off ...

Ohio Supreme Court rules juveniles can be sent to adult court

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 11:22 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 5:44 PM


            Ohio Supreme Court
            Laura A. Bischoff

A split Ohio Supreme Court ruled Thursday that sending older juveniles to adult court when they face serious charges does not violate their constitutional rights.

The decision reverses a ruling by the high court in December 2016.

Supreme Court Justice Sharon Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion that an earlier decision failed to consider a clause in the constitution that grants the Ohio General Assembly exclusive authority to define the jurisdiction of common pleas courts.

Related: Local teen’s case could go back to juvenile court

Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor dissented, saying that the ruling affords blind deference to the legislature and ignores the requirements of due process. Juvenile court should determine whether the youth is a candidate for rehabilitation before being transferred to adult court.

In 1996, legislators passed a law requiring that 16- and 17-year-old defendants be automatically transferred to adult court when charged with certain offenses.

The 6-1 decision stems from the case of 16-year-old Matthew Aalim, who faced armed robbery charges in Montgomery County in 2013. Aalim’s case was sent to adult court, which denied his request to return the case to juvenile court. As part of a plea deal, Aalim pleaded no contest and was sentenced to concurrent four-year terms.

Montgomery County Prosecutor Matt Heck said this was an “important decision” by the court.

“This ruling only applies to certain juveniles who have committed the most serious crimes such as murder or rape, are of a certain age, or were previously convicted of a most serious offense,” Heck said. “The juvenile justice system is ill equipped to effectively rehabilitate those defendants. Furthermore, the juvenile system can only incarcerate defendants until age 21, when they must be released. In the adult system they can be incarcerated much longer, and once released they can be kept under the jurisdiction and control of the Adult Parole Authority.”

Related: Ohio Supreme Court: backpack searches fair game on school property

In December 2016, shortly before her retirement from the supreme court, Justice Judith Lanzinger authored a court decision that said mandatory bindover laws violated the due process rights of juveniles. The Montgomery County Prosecutor’s office asked that the decision be reconsidered.

Ohio, which established juvenile courts in 1937, added a requirement in 1969 that “amenability” hearing to determine if the juvenile is a good candidate for rehabilitation.

Related: Ohio Supreme Court to decide if those with HIV have to disclose it

State law says that older juveniles who commit murder, are repeat felony offenders or commit felonies with a firearm are under the jurisdiction of adult court.

“Ohio’s mandatory transfer statute creates a system in which a judge has no right to even inquire into a juvenile’s potential for rehabilitation, let alone weigh it,” O’Connor wrote in her dissent. “Without allowing a judge to conduct any inquiry beyond probable cause or age, there is significant risk of turning a delinquent capable of rehabilitation into a lifelong criminal.”

Aalim, now 19, is serving his sentence in Lebanon Correctional Institution, an adult prison.

Whaley using mayoral campaign funds to raise money for governor race

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 2:32 PM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 4:32 PM


            Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, a Democrat, announces she is running for Ohio governor in front of a crowd of supporters at Warped Wing Brewery Monday, May 8, 2017. CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Democrat Nan Whaley is using a re-election campaign fund for Dayton mayor that’s not subject to state contribution limits to raise money for her 2018 bid for Ohio governor.

A notice on Whaley’s campaign website informing potential donors that the mayoral fund is able to accept unlimited contributions was taken down Thursday after The Associated Press inquired about it.

RELATED: How much are the candidates for governor worth?

Whaley’s gubernatorial campaign says it is addressing the potentially confusing situation by voluntarily limiting donations from individuals and political action committees to the annual state limit of $12,000.

“Nan is uniquely popular as a mayor and she’s running for the first time in the city’s modern history unopposed — but, since she has announced for governor, we have been voluntarily complying with those (state) campaign requirements,” said spokeswoman Faith Oltman. “We are going to be transparent, open and accountable throughout this campaign.”

Oltman called the reference on the website to the mayoral campaign’s lack of contribution limits “a small oversight.”

Who’s in? A look at who is running for governor

The mayoral fund is the only fund Whaley can operate until the mayor’s race concludes this fall. She will need to convert the fund into a statewide campaign account by February when fundraising will be legally restricted by state campaign finance rules.

Under the law, Whaley will be able to transfer up to $200,000 from the mayoral fund into the gubernatorial fund, said Matt McClellan, a spokesman for the Ohio Secretary of State’s office.

Running for mayor and governor simultaneously puts Whaley in a rare situation for campaign fundraising and spending.

Democrat Jennifer Brunner faced the only somewhat similar conundrum in recent years when she was Ohio’s secretary of state. During the 2010 U.S. Senate race, Brunner’s Senate campaign used $15,000 to buy computers and other equipment that came from her defunct secretary of state campaign.

The question was whether the transaction violated a prohibition against money raised for a state campaign benefiting a federal one — a different question than Whaley would face if she folded money from her mayoral campaign into her gubernatorial campaign.

In Brunner’s case, the Federal Election Commission ultimately threw up its hands, calling the transaction too confusing to render a legal opinion.

Trump, Nixon, Elvis, 2020: John Kasich weighs in before West Palm talk

Published: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:05 AM
Updated: Thursday, May 25, 2017 @ 7:05 AM

December 1970: President Richard Nixon and an 18-year-old John Kasich in the Oval Office.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich will speak to a sold-out Forum Club of the Palm Beaches lunch on Friday.

Kasichmania! His Forum Club appearance is a sellout.

Kasich was the last Republican standing against Donald Trump during the 2016 GOP nomination fight.

Now he’s promoting a book called Two Paths: America Divided or United that discusses the “post-truth environment” of 2016 and his thoughts on leadership, “followship” and other topics.

The Palm Beach Post interviewed Kasich this week and got his thoughts on President Trump, his 1970 meeting with Richard Nixon, how close he came to meeting Elvis Presley and his plans for 2020.

Click here to read the entire story at MyPalmBeachPost.com