Statehouse Recap 2023

[January 2, 2024]

Over 50 health care bills were introduced during 2023, the first year of the biennial 135th Ohio General Assembly. Generally, the bills fell into four areas: insurance, scope of practice, public health, and legislating the practice of medicine. See a list of the bills here.

The year began with Republican in-fighting in the Ohio House of Representatives, which seemed to continue throughout the year. The controversy began when Rep. Jason Stephens, a Republican from Kitts Hill in Lawrence County, was elected Speaker of the House in a surprise vote. Stephens won the top spot with help from the Democratic caucus. He defeated State Rep. Derrick Merrin, 54-43—with his 54 votes coming from all 32 Democratic members and 22 Republicans. Merrin was expected to be named Speaker since the GOP caucus chose him in an unofficial vote following the November 2022 election.

In the summer, Gov. Mike DeWine signed a $190 billion, two-year state budget bill into law, but not before he used his line-item veto power on tobacco and vaccine regulations. Of interest to physicians, the budget bill included provisions to ensure that physicians’ private addresses are not posted on the medical board’s website and an increase in Medicaid provider rates. The OOA advocated for prioritized funding for specific CPT codes for OMT and to incentivize primary care. The rate increase took effect January 1, 2024.

Gerrymandering was also a hot topic this year. The Ohio Redistricting Commission adopted new legislative maps for the state legislature—which were upheld later by the state Supreme Court. Efforts by voter advocacy groups are underway to change the redistricting process.

The Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that Ohio lawmakers passed 16 bills during 2023—the fewest since at least 1955. 

To assist with lobbying and advocacy work, the OOA Executive Committee contracted with Danny Hurley and Capitol Consulting Group in August. The governmental affairs/lobbying firm was founded in 1994. 

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