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Rep. Redfern Votes to Temporarily Fund Medicaid Expansion

Controlling Board action creates uncertainty, highlights Kasich's failed leadership
October 21, 2013
Democratic Newsroom

State Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) voted in favor of funding Medicaid expansion at today’s state Controlling Board meeting, but not without concerns regarding Gov. Kasich’s failure of leadership on the fundamental part of  President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“The failure of Gov. Kasich to lead has forced us to take the path of least resistance today through the state Controlling Board,” said Rep. Redfern. “Instead of holding photo-ops and press conferences with supporters of expansion, it was Gov. Kasich’s job to convince a handful of legislators in the Republican Party to bring this to a floor vote. He failed to do his job, so now we’re faced with possible legal challenges and the potential for a very serious healthcare cliff in the future-- when the legislature has to appropriate funds for Medicaid.”

The administrative approach to Medicaid expansion embraces President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act (ACA), but it also creates new concerns regarding the long term security of a program that has been highly politicized by extremists of the GOP. The scenario will most likely create a “healthcare cliff” in the near future, as the legislature will have to act to continue 138 percent eligibility when federal funding gradually decreases.

“Gov. Kasich has created a huge amount of uncertainty for our state by mocking the ACA, state exchanges and Medicaid expansion in the recent past,” Rep. Redfern added. “But after two-and-a-half years, I’m pleased that Democratic legislators were able to pass President Obama’s cornerstone of the ACA today.”

For months, Democratic house members, advocates and Ohio citizens expressed frustration with Republican lawmakers’ hyper-partisanship surrounding Medicaid expansion. Following the GOP’s failure 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.