Gov. Ted Strickland signed his first biennium budget (H.B. 119), June 30, after exercising his line-item veto authority 38 times. The Ohio General Assembly has now recessed for the summer and is not likely to return to conduct official business until mid-September although the House Healthcare Access and Affordability Committee is expected to meet sporadically throughout the summer.
"The administration believes we have both an obligation and an opportunity to invest in the health of Ohioans," said Governor Strickland in his budget signing statement. "This budget will provide health care coverage to uninsured children and both expand and improve our preventive medicine efforts through Healthy Ohio. In the process, we address some of Ohio's most urgent health needs".
He then went on to clarify his vetoes pertaining to health care issues. Items deleted included:
1. Language that would have restricted appointmens to the Medicaid Medical Care Advisory Committee.
2. Earmarks involving the Healthy Ohio initiative.
3. Constraints in language involving the School Employees Health Care Board.
4. Language establishing a Behavioral Health Pilot Project.
5. A provision requiring the Ohio Department of Insurance to conduct an annual review of the School Employees Health Care Board's best practices.
6. Limitations on restrictions of Coverage of Mental Health drugs.
7. And, an earmark to spend General Revenue Funds on Abstinence education.