Holiday Hangover Creates Chaos In The House
In a frenzied session, Ohio House votes to override 11 Kasich vetoes this morning

State Rep. John Boccieri (D-Poland) today applauded the Ohio House’s decision not to override Gov. Kasich’s veto on the freeze on Medicaid expansion in the state budget. The rollback of protections was expected to result in over half a million Ohioans losing healthcare coverage within the first 18 months of the scheduled 2018 freeze.

“It would have been unconscionable to pull the rug out from under the working people who have just gained Medicaid healthcare coverage and struggle with daily pain and financial stress,” Boccieri said. “I am glad that the Legislature pressed pause on a straight-Medicaid freeze, but I remain concerned that we’re creating barriers to affordable healthcare access for working people in Ohio.”

Boccieri noted several other vetoed Medicaid provisions that the House overrode which would effectively still undercut the program. Two provisions would require a form of legislative approval for authorization of additional Medicaid funds, and another would rollback Medicaid coverage for optional eligibility groups.

In a silver lining, there was bipartisan support for the override of Kasich’s veto of additional funding for counties and transit agencies slated to lose revenue from the Medicaid managed care organization (MCO) tax. The provision would allow the state to ask the federal government for the ability to increase the health insuring corporation (HIC) fee, which would keep intact about $200 million per-year in funding, over a six-year period, for counties and transit agencies.

“I am very pleased that we are still seeking this fix for our local communities that rely on this funding stream for essential services,” Boccieri said. “I didn’t want to see Mahoning County struggling to maintain services for our residents with an additional $2 million budget hole.”

The lawmaker was instrumental in getting Mahoning County Commissioners a face-to-face meeting with both House and Senate Finance Chairs earlier this year to discuss the MCO tax issue.

The last time the Legislature overrode a budget veto was in 1977, when a Democratic majority overrode a Republican Governor’s vetoes. The only other case after that of a veto override was when Republicans dismissed a few of Gov. Taft’s vetoes on bills in the early 2000s.

The Senate is expected to take up Kasich’s vetoes next week.

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