Ohio Republicans Move To Block Gov. Kasich’s Medicaid Expansion


Ohio Republicans in the state legislature intend to block Gov. John Kasich (R) from expanding Medicaid under Obamacare.

A key Republican-led House panel is set to nix $13 billion in federal funds budgeted to expand Medicaid to some 300,000 Ohioans, according to the Associated Press and Columbus Dispatch. The funds were included in Kasich’s budget, but are expected to be removed in the spending plan to be unveiled by state Republicans on Tuesday.The move would be an embarrassment for Kasich. State Republicans are under tremendous pressure from conservative activists to turn down the Medicaid funds. Right-wing groups have sought to make Medicaid expansion, which the Supreme Court made optional, a test of a public figure’s anti-Obamacare credentials.

Thwarting the expansion would be a blow to the many low-income, uninsured Americans set to obtain the expanded coverage. The generous deal — in which the federal government would cover the full cost of the expansion for three years and 90 percent thereafter — was what motivated Kasich and other GOP governors to accept the expansion.

While Republicans aren’t publicly commenting yet, Democrats are aghast.

“I am sickened by the news that House Republicans would rather play politics with over 300,000 Ohioans’ health and well-being instead of promoting sound and responsible health care policy in our state,” State Rep. Mike Foley, a Democratic from Cleveland, told the Plain Dealer. “It seems that a small minority of Republicans in the Ohio House are holding strong policy, good sense and common decency hostage, and that is extremely troubling.”

The development is a victory for the right which could further motivate conservatives to push Republicans in other states, like Florida or New Jersey, to similarly block their governors’ decision to accept the Affordable Care Act’s additional Medicaid funds.