COLUMBUS – Earlier this month, Governor John R. Kasich announced that he will appoint Barbara Sears to serve as director of the Ohio Department of Medicaid. Sears currently serves as Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation and is a former member of the Ohio House of Representatives.
Sears will replace John McCarthy at a date to be determined in December. McCarthy, who has served as director of Medicaid since the beginning of Kasich’s Administration, led its transformation to an independent cabinet agency, improved the efficiency and quality of services and helped guide the expansion of Medicaid services to more low-income Ohioans.
“From the very beginning, John has been an invaluable member of my Cabinet and a key driver behind our efforts to modernize Ohio’s Medicaid program,” said Kasich. “He is an outstanding thinker, leader and professional whose work has improved the lives of hundreds of thousands of Ohioans and made our state better. I’m grateful we’ve had John leading one of our largest state programs over the majority of my time in office, and thanks to his leadership, our most vulnerable Ohioans are better served and the program now rests on strong financial footing.”
“Filling those shoes is hard, which is why I turned to Barbara Sears. She has consistently been someone who has shared my vision for health care and worked closely with our team to achieve it. She knows the health care and insurance spaces very well and has outstanding relationships with the General Assembly. She has the right combination of expertise, temperament and leadership ability to guide Medicaid forward and I’m glad she’s agreed to take up this responsibility,” said Kasich.
Under McCarthy’s leadership, the Ohio Department of Medicaid has saved Ohio taxpayers more than $3 billion and the annual growth rate of the program has shrunk to just 3.3 percent – down from nearly nine percent growth experienced over the three years prior to the Kasich Administration assuming office.
McCarthy previously served as Medicaid Director for the District of Columbia and also spent ten years with EP&P Consulting, where he worked with many states to help reform their Medicaid programs through home- and community-based waiver programs, new coverage initiatives, and rate setting.
Prior to joining the Kasich Administration, Sears represented the 47th District in the Ohio House of Representatives. While a legislator, she served as the Majority Floor Leader, Chair of the House Insurance Committee and Chair of the Joint Medicaid Oversight Committee. The majority of her legislative and policy work focused on the state’s health and human services, including Medicaid and unemployment reforms. Sears began her political career in 1997 when she was elected to Sylvania City Council. She served on city council for ten years, the last four as President of Council and Chair of Finance. Sears was also an active health and life insurance agent and small business owner from 1985 to 2016.