Rep. Ramos Cautiously Optimistic On Medicaid Expansion Approval
Method creates new concerns over program stability, longevity
October 21, 2013
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COLUMBUS –Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) applauded the state Controlling Board’s approval of funding for Medicaid expansion in Ohio today, but cited new concerns based on GOP intraparty politics and the legislature’s inability to act on behalf of 275,000 Ohioans.

“It gives me hope that we seem to be moving forward with this fundamental component of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act,” said Rep. Ramos. “At the same time, I have deep concerns about the permanence of the decision made today.  By expanding Medicaid in this fashion, we open the doors to the possibility of costly litigation that could significantly hinder the implementation of the expansion.”

Today’s decision from the panel follows the GOP legislature’s 10 months of inaction and nine false, self-imposed deadlines. For months, Democratic House members, advocates and Ohio citizens expressed frustration with Republican lawmakers’ hyper-partisanship surrounding Medicaid expansion. Following the GOP’s refusal to pass Medicaid expansion through the state biennial budget, House Republicans again declined to work on legislative components of expansion through the committee process over the summer recess.

“There’s no security or stability in doing this administratively. It would have been far more preferable if Governor Kasich would have asserted more leadership over his own party and helped to get this legislation through the House and Senate earlier this year,” continued Rep. Ramos. “It is entirely possible that we have just created a healthcare cliff, whereby in two years we will have to come back to this issue to seek additional authorization. Quite frankly, it is a very real scenario that jeopardizes the healthcare of hundreds of thousands of Ohioans.”

More than half of GOP House members—a minority of the full House—recently penned a letter protesting Medicaid expansion in Ohio. The move calls into question the constitutionality of the action, and ultimately undermines expansion efforts. Some have speculated that the letter is a sign of forthcoming legal action following today’s decision.

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