Rep. Sheehy Hopeful For Long-term Medicaid Expansion
Controlling Board action better than none at al
October 21, 2013
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State Rep. Mike Sheehy (D-Oregon) applauded the state Controlling Board’s approval of funding for Medicaid expansion in Ohio today, after 10 months of inaction from the GOP-controlled state legislature.

The administrative approach to Medicaid expansion embraces President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, but it also creates new concerns regarding the long term security of a program that has been highly politicized by extreme GOP legislators. The potential for a “healthcare cliff” is very real, as the legislature will have to act to continue 138 percent eligibility when federal funding decreases.

“I am in favor of expanding Medicaid, but unfortunately the legislature was not given the opportunity to vote on the expansion,” Sheehy said today in Columbus. “While the consequences of the Controlling Board’s short-term fix remain to be seen, I am relieved that some action was taken in the right direction. Expanding Medicaid will cover nearly 20,000 more people here in Lucas County, and I am optimistic for its long-term success.”

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.

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 portions of expansion through the committee process over summer recess.

In Ohio, Medicaid expansion will provide healthcare coverage for more than 275,000 low-income citizens and create some 28,000 new jobs in our state.

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