Governor Goes To Controlling Board to Expand Medicaid

Medicaid Expansion Rally Summer 2013

 The Governor has decided to seek approval from the Controlling Board to expand Medicaid.  On its face this is very good news.  If Ohio does not expand Medicaid, hundreds of thousands will not be eligible for health insurance and the State will see billions of dollars of support from the federal government.   This is prudent in that for three years, 100% of the cost will be absorbed by the federal government.  Where is the risk here?   Why not take billions from the State of Ohio? It would seem that the politically savvy Governor would have lined up the votes or twisted arms to make sure that he gets his way, but it seems that he has left this all up to divine intervention to assure the votes according to a speech he gave today at the Cleveland Clinic.

There are six elected officials on the Controlling Board--three Senators and three State Representatives.  The Board is 4-2 Republican to Democratic members. Here is what they do:

First created in 1917, the Controlling Board provides legislative oversight over certain capital and operating expenditures by state agencies and has approval authority over various other state fiscal activities including:
Waivers of competitive selection to agencies when an agency's purchases or leases from a specific vendor exceed the amounts specified in law
Appropriation releases for capital construction projects
Loans and grants made through the Department of Development
Loans and subsidies made through the Department of Education to local school districts
The transfer of appropriation authority between line items within a fund in an agency and increases in appropriation authority in some funds
The Board meets approximately every two weeks to consider and vote on requests for action that are submitted by state agencies.

The Columbus Dispatch reported yesterday that Ohio legislators are planning to sue if the Governor goes forward with this plan.  This could turn into a short term victory with a long drawn out court case in which no one gets coverage.  They have a right wing legal group helping and could push to hold this acceptance of $2 billion in Medicaid for years. First step is the Controlling Board vote on Monday. 

Brian Davis

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