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UPDATED: Ohio House Backs Off Override of Medicaid Freeze Veto

Ohio state Republicans backed off on their planned override of Gov. John Kasich's line-item veto of a Medicaid freeze, which could have booted thousands of people off health care. (Wikimedia/Creative Commons)
Ohio state Republicans backed off on their planned override of Gov. John Kasich's line-item veto of a Medicaid freeze, which could have booted thousands of people off health care. (Wikimedia/Creative Commons)
July 6, 2017

Updated 4:30 EDT

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ohio lawmakers have decided not to try a rare override of one of Gov. John Kasich's recent line-item vetoes to the state budget, which included a freeze on Medicaid expansion.

If the override had been successful, the provision allowing new Medicaid enrollees beyond July 1, 2018, would have been halted and an estimated 500-thousand people would have lost coverage almost immediately.

Michelle Shirer, communications coordinator for AARP Ohio, said in a state with some of the highest mortality rates for opioid addiction in the country, services lost from Medicaid cuts have massive implications.

"But it's not just opioids. There are more people who die of heart attacks in this state than addiction,” Shirer said.

She said the continuous care is needed for the most vulnerable, including seniors and those whose illness may have driven them into bankruptcy.

Medicaid is among other cuts to the state budget that lawmakers included to address revenue shortfalls. The House did vote today to override some of Kasich's other Medicaid-related budget vetoes. AARP and 200 other health advocacy groups rallied against the overrides.

Kasich's stance breaks with many state and national Republican leaders. AARP and other groups also have come out strongly against the latest GOP national health-care bill, the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which Shirer said – among its other problems – parallels attempts to roll back Medicaid at state levels.

"The country at large is saying that they do not want this bill, that there is so much wrong with it,” Shirer said.

Veto overrides need the approval of three-fifths of each chamber. The last time a governor's veto was overridden in Ohio was in 2006, when fellow Republicans undid Governor Bob Taft's easing of gun restrictions on his way out of office.

Brett McPherson, Public News Service - OH