The State House of Representatives is releasing their budget this week. There is good news in the budget released by the Governor in February and then his transportation budget veto in March. The Governor is supporting an expansion of Medicaid in the budget for 2015 to 2016. This has not received much criticism despite the tricky way that it was passed into law in 2013. If you remember the Medicaid expansion was bypassed by the legislature and the Governor slipped it into the Controlling Board budget. There was so much rhetoric about overturning "Obamacare" and not expanding Medicaid. So far in the first two months that this budget has been out we have heard very little about Medicaid expansion. There is no controversy it seems even though the State will have to pick up 10% of the cost in 2016.
Why is there no there controversy? The cost of dismantling Medicaid expansion would be enormous for the State. All of these 200,000 people who now are getting prescription drugs would need to be provided some alternative. All the hospitals in rural communities that are benefiting from the federal government reimbursing them for care would have to find alternatives. In the South, those hospitals are struggling to stay alive or closing because there was no way to pay for cost of care to the poor. The expansion of clinics and new health care facilities in Cleveland, Columbus and Cincinnati would close down and the communities would have to deal with the loss of health care jobs. The Health Corridor in Cleveland would shrink to a couple of facilities. The emergency rooms would again be packed with many uninsured residents, and cities would have to scramble to find additional health care money for their citizens. Elected officials will be faced with coming up with funds for more EMS trips, more psychiatric problems, and more involvement with law enforcement because of out of control health issues.
The other bit of good news was the Governor Kasich issued veto of the unrelated bit of voting restrictions slipped into the transportation bill. This would have forced students to register their car within Ohio if they change their residence to Ohio. They would have 30 days to register their car after they change their residence to Ohio in voting. This would be very difficult for the local boards to enforce, and would dissuade students from changing their residence for voting. Governor Kasich recognized all the problems and the potential lawsuit and vetoed this short sighted proposal. Why don't legislators want to encourage student voting and encourage students studying in Ohio to remain here? Why are they trying to put up all these barriers? Why do they continue to try to encourage voting lawsuits? Thanks to the Governor for turning back further voting restrictions.
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