Ohio policy

Graphic of the week


New analysis from the Health Policy Institute of Ohio found that the number of firearm-involved deaths among Ohio children increased sharply in recent years, as illustrated above.
According to data from the Ohio Department of Health’s Ohio Public Health Data Warehouse, there were 104 deaths involving a firearm of children ages 0-17 in Ohio in 2022, or a rate of 4.05 deaths per 100,000 children. That is more than double the rate of 2007, when the death rate was 1.76 per 100,000 Ohio children.
What Works for Health, an online tool developed by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute to identify evidence-informed health policies, includes a number of potential options that local and state leaders can consider to increase firearm safety for children.

Ohio voters approve reproductive rights amendment to Ohio constitution, recreational cannabis legalization

Voters in Ohio Tuesday enshrined the right to an abortion in the state's constitution and approved the legalization of recreational cannabis (Source: “Ohioan voters throw their support behind abortion rights and recreational marijuana,” Courthouse News Service, Nov. 7).

With 98% of precincts reporting as of early Wednesday morning, 56.4% of voters voted yes on Issue 1, titled a "Self-Executing Amendment Relating to Abortion and Other Reproductive Decisions." And 56.8% of voters said yes to Issue 2, a state statute to commercialize and legalize the use of cannabis.

Issue 1 establishes in the Ohio Constitution a "right to make and carry out one's own reproductive decisions," including abortion. The approved amendment will become effective 30 days after the election.

Issue 2 will legalize and tax cannabis for recreational use for individuals over the age of 21 without amending the state's constitution. Instead the statute will be added to the Ohio Revised Code, creating a cannabis control division to regulate and impose a 10% tax upon the industry. The new law will become effective 30 days after the election and would be subject to subsequent revisions by the Ohio General Assembly.

For more background on both ballot initiatives, see HPIO’s resource pages on Issue 1 and Issue 2.

Ohio joins 40 states suing Meta over claims Instagram, Facebook damage youth mental health

More than 40 states, including Ohio, have filed suit in federal court against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, claiming that the social media company has harmed young people’s mental health – addicting them while misleading the public about the platforms' safety (Source: “Ohio joins 40 states suing Meta alleging that Instagram and Facebook are harmful for kids,” Columbus Dispatch, Oct. 24).
In the lawsuit filed Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California, the states allege that the company has profited in how it has designed Instagram and Facebook to maximize time spent on the platforms by teens and children, which led to increased advertising revenue.
The suit cites several studies including Meta’s own research showing links between young people's use of Instagram and Facebook with depression, anxiety and other health issues. 

HPIO launches resource pages on State Issues 1 and 2

In advance of the Nov. 7 election, the Health Policy Institute of Ohio launched online resource pages for State Issue 1 and State Issue 2.

  • State Issue 1 would amend the Ohio Constitution to establish a state constitutional right to "make and carry out one’s own reproductive decisions," including decisions about abortion, contraception, fertility treatment, miscarriage care and continuing pregnancy.
  • State Issue 2 would change Ohio law to legalize and regulate recreational marijuana for adults aged 21 and above.

In keeping with its status as an independent and nonpartisan organization, HPIO regularly creates resource pages to make information on the health impact of relevant statewide ballot issues easily accessible to voters.

Washington Post analysis links policy decisions to decreased life expectancy in Ohio

A months-long investigation by the Washington Post concludes that decisions made by policymakers over the past several decades have led to poorer health outcomes and lower life expectancy for Ohioans compared to those in other states (Source: “How red-state politics are shaving years off American lives,” Washington Post, Oct. 3).

Many of those early deaths can be traced to decisions made years ago by local and state lawmakers over whether to implement cigarette taxes, invest in public health or tighten seat-belt regulations, among other policies, an examination by the Washington Post found.

“States’ politics — and their resulting policies — are shaving years off American lives,” according to the Post.

Ohio has plummeted nationally when it comes to life expectancy rates, moving from middle of the pack to the bottom fifth of states during the last 50 years, the Post found. Ohioans have a similar life expectancy to residents of Slovakia and Ecuador, relatively poor countries.

According to analysis from Jennifer Karas Montez, director of the Center for Aging and Policy Studies at Syracuse University, roughly 1 in 5 Ohioans will die before they turn 65.

HPIO’s 2023 Health Value Dashboard provides additional insight on how Ohio compares to other states and D.C. on a wide range of metrics.

1 in 3 Medicaid recipients with opioid use disorder not receiving medication to treat it, federal report finds

A new federal report has found that more than half a million Medicaid recipients diagnosed with opioid use disorder did not receive medication to treat it in 2021 (Source: “A Third of Medicaid Recipients With Opioid Use Disorder Aren’t Getting Medication to Treat It,” New York Times, Sept. 29)

The report, released last week by the inspector general of the Department of Health and Human Services, examined the use of addiction treatments that almost all Medicaid programs are now required to cover, also found major disparities in medication rates across states, ages and racial groups. It said the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, an agency of the Health and Human Services Department, should work to close the gaps.

“Medicaid is uniquely positioned to achieve these goals given that the program is estimated to cover almost 40% of nonelderly adults with opioid use disorder,” the report said.

The half-million people who did not receive treatment amounted to about one-third of all Medicaid recipients with opioid use disorder. The authors of the report expressed concern that, when a five-year mandatory coverage period issued by the federal government ends in September 2025, some states could again start restricting access.

The report also found that almost a quarter of Medicaid enrollees with opioid use disorder lived in New York, Ohio or Pennsylvania.

State to begin installing naloxone boxes at highway rest stops

Gov. Mike DeWine this week announced a partnership with the RecoveryOhio initiative, the Ohio Department of Transportation and the Ohio Department of Health’s Project DAWN (Deaths Avoided With Naloxone) to install naloxone kits at rest areas across Ohio (Source: “Narcan, naloxone boxes being installed at highway rest stops,” Dayton Daily News, Sept. 25).

Naloxone kits known as NaloxBoxes will be installed at highway rest stops in order to expand access to medication that can reverse the symptoms of an opioid overdose.

Naloxone, commonly referred to by the name brand Narcan, is medication that rapidly reverses the effects of opioid overdose and is the standard treatment for opioid overdose, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. The FDA has approved Narcan and another naloxone product, RiVive, for over-the-counter use.

Last year, unintentional drug overdoses in Ohio resulted in 4,915 deaths, according to the Ohio Department of Health. That is nearly four times greater than the 1,275 fatalities caused by motor vehicle crashes over the same period, the state said.

Medicaid-eligible people who are not enrolled more likely to delay care, face worse health outcomes

Adults who are eligible for Medicaid but not enrolled in the program are more likely to delay care due to costs, according to analysis released this week (Source: “Medicaid-eligible people who aren’t enrolled far more likely to delay care,” The Hill, Aug. 29).

The survey, published by the Urban Institute, found 21.4% of non-Medicaid enrolled individuals delay medical care due to the cost, compared to only 7.3% of enrollees and 9.5% of Medicaid-eligible individuals with private insurance.

Eligible but unenrolled adults were less likely than Medicaid enrollees to have visited a doctor in the last year, 23.4% compared to 65.4%. Unenrolled adults were also less likely to have a prescription filled, 27.8% to 67%, and less likely to have stayed in a hospital, 2.5% versus 12.6%. The analysis found uninsured Medicaid-eligible adults also spent more on out-of-pocket health expenses.

“Researchers conclude that being eligible for Medicaid does not equate to being covered by Medicaid or private insurance, as some have suggested,” a brief on the analysis stated. “People enrolled in health insurance face fewer obstacles and better outcomes.”

DeWine appoints head of private foundation overseeing opioid settlement fund

Gov. Mike DeWine has named the first-ever leader of a private, nonprofit organization that will oversee prevention and recovery efforts with money from opioid settlements (Source: “DeWine names leader of private foundation established with public opioid settlement fund,” Statehouse News Bureau).
DeWine has appointed Alisha Nelson as the first executive director of the OneOhio Recovery Foundation. Nelson has led anti-drug efforts for DeWine, both when he was attorney general and during his current time as governor.
The OneOhio Recovery Foundation is a private, nonprofit entity established in a legal settlement in 2021, with 55% of opioid settlements involving the state going to OneOhio. Another 15% of settlements will go to the state itself. And 30% will go to local governments. DeWine said the OneOhio Recovery fund will ensure that every community will have money for drug prevention and recovery efforts.

New HPIO publication details strategies to prevent adverse childhood experiences


HPIO has released a new publication, titled  “Strategies to Prevent Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) in Ohio: Building Skills and Strengthening Connections to Caring Adults,” that details the state’s progress in implementing policies that prevent adverse childhood experiences.

“Building skills and strengthening connections to caring adults ensures that every child can thrive,” according to the brief. “Enhancing a variety of assets and resources can buffer children and families from the well-documented harmful effects of toxic stress and adversity and promote the ability to withstand, adapt and recover from trauma.”

The brief details policies that enhance skills so that parents and youth can handle stress, manage emotions and tackle everyday challenges and connect youth to caring adults and activities. The brief also highlights examples of strategy implementation in Ohio, informed by key informant interviews, and identifies strengths, gaps and recommendations for each strategy.

There are many evidence-based parent, caregiver and family skills training programs operating throughout the state. For example, in May 2022, the Triple P Online and Teen Triple P Online programs became available free-of-charge to all Ohio families, granting them access to the programs for one year upon enrollment, through a partnership between the Governor’s Children’s Initiative, Ohio Children’s Trust Fund and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services. As of June 4, 2023, 10,656 Ohio parents and caregivers had enrolled in one of the programs. The graphic above shows the number of enrollees in each county.

In 2020 and 2021, HPIO released a series of policy briefs on the health and economic impacts of ACEs and elevated 12 evidence-based, cost-effective strategies (programs, policies and practices) that prevent ACEs before they happen and improve health. This brief is the second publication in a new series examining those strategies. The first brief in the series details how policymakers can ensure a strong start for children and strengthen economic supports for families.

Support for this project was provided by the Harmony Project, the Ohio Children's Hospital Association and HPIO’s other core funders.