COLUMBUS, Ohio, Feb. 19, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Medicaid extension Governor Kasich outlined in his State of the State message and in his budget proposal to the General Assembly would be a benefit to Ohio's long-term services and supports providers. Peter Van Runkle, Executive Director of the Ohio Health Care Association, said after watching the Governor's address, "We support the extension because it helps our members and other long-term care providers in the state in ways that may not be apparent on the surface. It helps with one of the biggest issues our members face in the next year, which is the mandate under Obamacare that they offer health insurance to their employees or pay penalties." Van Runkle explained that the Medicaid extension provides a solution for health care workers. "The reality is that many of our employees are not highly paid. As an example, the average salary of a nursing assistant in an Ohio skilled nursing facility is about $24,000. Perhaps as many as a third of our workers would qualify for coverage under the Medicaid extension." As a result, the added cost of the Obamacare penalties or purchasing insurance would not apply to these workers. "Given the heavy reimbursement cuts that skilled nursing facilities and other long-term care providers have endured over the past few years, the added cost will be hard to bear," Van Runkle said. "We appreciate the Governor's decision to propose the extension and lower that burden." The real winners, according to Van Runkle, will be the caregivers. "Our employees deserve the extra security the extension could offer. And healthy, happy caregivers lead to satisfied residents." The Ohio Health Care Association is a non-profit association of more than 800 skilled nursing care facilities, assisted living communities, and providers serving people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, representing over 60,000 individuals. Many OHCA members also provide a variety of home and community-based services. OHCA is the largest long-term care association in the state, and the only chartered Ohio affiliate of the American Health Care Association, representing more than 12,000 long-term care communities nationwide.