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The State Budget and Health and Human Services

A look at how Ohio spends taxpayer dollars reveals that the three biggest expenses are Medicaid and other health and human services, K-12 and higher education, and justice and public protection. Some budget watchers even quip that the state’s top three priorities are to medicate, educate, and incarcerate.

Joking aside, it’s clear that health and human services account for almost 50 cents of every dollar spent out of Ohio’s General Revenue Fund (GRF), the primary “cash register” for state government. There’s good reason for that. Medicaid now covers one of every five Ohioans and one of every three Ohio children. It pays for 28% of all hospital care and 47% of nursing home care. The state budget also provides food for the hungry and shelter for the homeless. It protects the elderly and supports people with disabilities. And it even brings dollars into the state from the federal government. Every time Ohio spends $1 of its Medicaid budget, it draws down roughly $2 in matching federal dollars.

In hard economic times, health and human services are often the first line items to be cut or eliminated. But we know the programs often first on the chopping block help strengthen Ohio’s economy and make Ohioans more competitive.

Advocates for Ohio’s Future will continue to work for budget and policy solutions that strengthen families, communities, and Ohio’s economy.

Learn the basics about how the budget process works.