Last updated: August 12. 2013 8:31PM - 1382 Views
By - flewis@civitasmedia.com - 740-353-3101

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Frank Lewis

PDT Staff Writer

Americans for Prosperity – Ohio is expressing their strong opposition to proposed legislation aimed at expanding Medicaid in the state of Ohio. According to a recent Columbus Dispatch story, Rep. Barbara Sears (R-47) plans to introduce roughly a dozen Medicaid bills in the next few weeks with the end-goal of expanding Medicaid in the state. The expansion of Medicaid is made possible through Obamacare.

“Rep. Sears and President Obama are both calling for the expansion of the Medicaid system. How many blank checks and empty promises are we going to allow Washington to pass onto the states before we stop falling for it?” Eli Miller, State Director of Americans for Prosperity – Ohio, said. “The federal government can barely meet its current financial obligations. We cannot allow Ohio families and businesses to be left holding the bag when, not if, the federal government realizes they cannot meet the financial obligations promised surrounding Medicaid expansion.”

Gov. John Kasich says extending Medicaid coverage to thousands of low-income residents will help the state on multiple levels. The Republican governor proposed Medicaid expansion under the federal law in his two-year budget plan. He’s framed the decision as recapturing Ohio taxpayers’ federal money. The state would see $2.4 billion from Washington to cover those newly eligible for Medicaid over the next two years beginning in July.

In February, when Kasich announced his support for the expansion of Medicaid in the state, it gained immediate support from Ed Hughes, President and CEO of Compass Community Health, the company that operates The Counseling Center.

“We want to help the sick people in our community,” Hughes said. “But we also want to help them before they get real sick, so being able to reach them earlier will lower costs of health care. Then, I think the job creation that will come with this, because of the people that we will be able to treat, where we struggle to do that now, is going to be really significant in terms of our poor community as far as jobs.”

Miller looks at the legislation differently.

“At a time when even the Obama Administration is essentially admitting defeat by delaying key provisions of Obamacare, Rep. Sears should not recklessly and irresponsibly tie our state’s finances and the physical health and well-being of our most vulnerable citizens to this eventual disaster,” Miller said. “We call on all members of the Ohio General Assembly to support Ohio families, stand up for fiscal responsibility, and oppose Rep. Sears and President Obama’s Medicaid expansion.”

Hughes told the Daily Times the expansion of Medicaid in Ohio would especially help those who fall through the financial cracks.

“From The Counseling Center’s standpoint, it essentially creates an opportunity for people who do not have access to drug, alcohol, or mental health services, to have that access through their medical card,” Hughes said. “So it’s giving health care coverage to people.”

Medicaid expansion legislation would need to pass the Ohio General Assembly in October of this year so that enrollment could begin in January 2014.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or at flewis@civitasmedia.com. For breaking news, follow Frank on Twitter @FrankLewisPDT.

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