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Medicaid Expansion “Unfinished Business” in Ohio

PHOTO: The Ohio state budget goes into effect today, but the General Assembly did not include in it Governor John Kasich’s plans to expand Medicaid. Photo of the Ohio Statehouse. Credit ohiostatehouse.org.
PHOTO: The Ohio state budget goes into effect today, but the General Assembly did not include in it Governor John Kasich’s plans to expand Medicaid. Photo of the Ohio Statehouse. Credit ohiostatehouse.org.
July 1, 2013

COLUMBUS, Ohio - State legislators are off for summer break, but they left some unfinished business that affects hundreds of thousands of lives. The state budget goes into effect today, but the General Assembly did not include in it Gov. John Kasich's plans to expand Medicaid.

AARP Ohio Associate State Director Bill Sundermeyer called that a disservice to Ohioans. He said he is voicing concern for the more than 275,000 people who could - but don't yet - have health-care coverage.

"It's not through any fault of their own. They have working jobs where they can, they're veterans who for various reasons have not been able to qualify for VA coverage. We feel strongly that this needs to be done and done quickly," he stressed.

General Assembly members who oppose Medicaid expansion expressed concern that the federal government will not be able to maintain the funding, long-term. However, the governor said it is unfair to Ohioans to refuse the federal dollars. Meanwhile, legislative leaders have promised to work on the issue over the summer, which could mean a resolution by mid-August.

AARP Ohio is part of a broad-based coalition - including hospitals, businesses, faith and labor leaders - that has repeatedly stated the case for extending coverage. Sundermeyer said Ohioans feel strongly that Medicaid expansion needs to happen.

"Polls out there indicate that the issue has the support of more than 60 percent of the population," he said, "and we feel strongly that it needs to get done and it needs to have serious attention in the legislative body."

Sundermeyer said the coalition is asking leaders when health-care coverage expansion hearings and a vote will be scheduled, so they can keep track of the process and know the target date for completion.


Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - OH