Innovation Ohio Education Fund (IOEF) is thrilled to present another installment to our 2023 project, A Justice Agenda: “Ohio’s Missing Voters”. For this report, IOEF undertook a comprehensive analysis of publicly-maintained and commercial voter lists within the Ohio voter file. Our objective was to gain deeper insights into the population of unregistered and inactive voters across our great state. Leveraging data sources from Catalist, the US Census, and the Ohio Secretary of State, this report seeks to estimate both the size and characteristics of significant groups. Our focus, as outlined in this report, will be on the geographical distribution of these voters, their demographic composition, and provide potential recommendations. This report was made possible by the dedicated staff at the Innovation Ohio Education Fund.
Innovation Ohio Education Fund is pleased to announce A Justice Agenda for Black Women and Girls.
This report focuses on ways in which currently pending or passed state-level policy harms or holds back the lives of Black women and girls. We examine ways in which housing, workforce, and education policies create barriers for Black women and girls face in their lives and in seeking justice. We will then offer policy solutions for state-level policy makers to implement in order to close the gap on discriminatory policies and practices.
Innovation Ohio Education Fund has released our report on broadband access across Ohio and what impact the Biden Administration’s Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA) and Affordable Connectivity Program (AFP) may have on Ohio families and communities.
The Biden Administration is aggressively working to address the digital divide and inequities caused by unequal access to broadband technologies that are becoming an increasingly essential part of modern life. With the passage of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act of 2021 (IIJA), the administration has made a significant investment in broadband access and affordability. Thanks to billions in new federal funding, residents meeting basic income requirements can get $30 off a broadband plan with a participating provider through the Affordable Connectivity Program (ACP), and thanks to negotiations between the Biden administration and carriers, many providers are introducing new $30/month plans to the same customers, making service essentially free.
Nearly 40% of American households qualify for the ACP and it could result in more than 1.4 million Ohio households gaining access to affordable broadband, lowering their monthly bill or reducing their broadband cost to zero. According to the Census Bureau, over 1.2 million Ohio households lack a dedicated high speed internet connection to the home, the majority of which are low-income. This new program from the Biden administration could go a long way toward erasing digital access gaps and extending the many benefits of broadband access to more residents, and provides an easier path for communities to serve the needs of residents than the costly buildout of government-owned networks.
Click below to read and download the full report!
Everyone, regardless of their race, place, or income, deserves equal treatment under the law and rules that govern our country and our institutions. Yet this is far from the reality in Ohio, particularly for Black Ohioans.
Many of our nation’s institutions, public policies, and even its founding have protected a culture of systemic racism and perpetuated racial injustice, thereby holding back, harming, and killing Black people. Within our criminal justice and legal system, there is a history of systemic racism embedded into the institutions, and that was not done by accident. Today, many individuals who control these systems continue to uphold these racist and discriminatory structures.
Our criminal justice and legal systems have dangerous and deadly impacts on Black women and girls: in schools where Black girls are over-policed and experience higher rates of discipline; in prisons where Black are overrepresented and where women overall receive harsher punishments for minor violations compared to men; and in communities where law enforcement profiles, abuses, sexually assaults, and kills Black women at alarming rates.
The evidence regarding the mistreatment of Black women, especially Black trans women, in the criminal justice system is overwhelming. Today, women represent an increasing share of arrests and report much more use of force than they did twenty years ago. Data from 2015 found that 12 million women, on average, experience police-initiated contacts, which often include traumatic, violent, and harmful tactics such as searches and uses of force. In our criminal justice system, women are the fastest-growing prison population, and racially biased policies and our broken criminal justice system have contributed to the overrepresentation of Black women in prisons. In fact, while 1 in 111 white women spend time in prison, the likelihood of prison time is 1 in 45 for Latina women and 1 in 18 for Black women.
Far too often, though, we fail to center the experiences of Black women and girls when calling for change in conversations around law enforcement violence, mass incarceration, and criminal justice. Our new project, The Justice Agenda for Black Women and Girls, looks to play a role in closing that gap in criminal justice reform efforts. We will directly, and solely, focus on the ways in which Black women and girls are disproportionately and disparately impacted by criminal and justice systems and current justice-centered policies.
This project will not only conduct research into policies passed and pending in the Ohio Statehouse that may harm or support Black women and girls, but it is also finding real solutions. In this program, we are exploring solutions to promote justice, developing messaging materials to amplify our findings, and engaging in public education efforts around the issue, our findings, and our recommendations.
And, by engaging with a broad range of organizations and community partners, we will have in-depth perspectives on issues faced by Black girls within schools, domestic violence survivors, incarcerated mothers, and more. The voices of community members with lived experience within the areas we are researching is invaluable in moving this work forward. Throughout the course of this program, we truly have the ability to confront, address, and change our current systems to better serve Black women and girls in Ohio. To stay up to date on this project, sign up for our general Innovation Ohio emails.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Rachel Coyle, Coyle@InnovationOhio.org, 419-351-5844
December 9, 2021
DeWine Administration Policy Could Force 2 Million Ohioans to Change Healthcare Coverage
Policy could disproportionately affect poor Ohioans, women, communities of color
COLUMBUS — Today, Innovation Ohio Education Fund (IOEF) released an analysis of the DeWine Administration’s decision to require all consumers participating in Medicaid managed care — over 2.9 million Ohioans — to take action to keep their current plan or risk being assigned to a new plan by computer algorithm.
IOEF’s review found that this new policy could result in two million or more Ohioans experiencing a change in healthcare coverage.
“Our assessment shows that this DeWine Administration policy will disproportionately impact poor Ohioans, women, and communities of color. Yet we also found very little in terms of explanation from the Ohio Department of Medicaid regarding the need for these changes,” said Desiree Tims, President and CEO of Innovation Ohio and Innovation Ohio Education Fund.
The change, scheduled for spring 2022, coincides with the rollout of a new set of managed care plans. Last year, the DeWine Administration announced that it was renewing the contract of four of the five existing managed care companies, while one — Toledo-based Paramount Advantage — was not selected for renewal. Three new providers were selected to join the four incumbent plans beginning in July.
Before the policy change, the Ohio Department of Medicaid allowed members to change healthcare plans during the annual open enrollment period, but no action was required for a member who wished to stay on their current plan. Per the DeWine Administration’s new policy, even consumers whose provider was retained will be forced to affirmatively state their intention to keep their current healthcare plan. Medicaid members who do not make this proactive effort will be reassigned to one of now-seven providers.
“The DeWine Administration is already forcing over 250,000 Ohioans currently receiving coverage with Paramount Advantage to find new plans. Our analysis finds the potential for even further chaos with over two and a half million more Medicaid members forced to either proactively reaffirm their plans or be involuntarily reassigned new ones,” continued Desiree Tims.
IOEF’s policy review also identified several outstanding questions regarding how the plan re-selection process will work. Unless the Department deploys a highly targeted and comprehensive outreach strategy, and the affirmation process is exceptionally user friendly, it is likely that hundreds of thousands of Ohioans will be reassigned. Many could be required to seek out new doctors or risk discovering that their longtime provider is no longer covered by their insurance.
“It has become clear to us in reviewing this policy that lawmakers should put the brakes on implementation and push for answers before the process begins. Why is the state requiring Medicaid members whose providers will retain their contracts to take proactive action? How will customers be notified of the need to reaffirm their provider? Does this really benefit Medicaid members, or simply the newly contracted providers?” asked Tims.