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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Ohio's Republican governor pushes Medicaid expansion

Posted By on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 at 12:09 PM

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I thought the front page image from Ohio says it all. Republican governor "implores" a Republican-majority legislature to approve Medicaid expansion.

I guess the Arkansas Republican Stepford Caucus would boo him out of the hall. Rep. Nate Bell would ban him from his Facebook page, that's for sure.

From the article, a passage that could be spoken here, except to an even needier populace:

But he reached back for something extra on Medicaid, perhaps, in part, because many of the 59 Republicans in the Ohio House and the 23 in the Senate are queasy about the idea.

The expansion — an option under President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act — would provide health care for hundreds of thousands of poor Ohioans and be funded fully for three years by the federal government. Kasich defends it because of the $13 billion he says it will return to Ohio over seven years and because of the funding it would free up to treat the mentally ill.

“I can’t look at the disabled, I can’t look at the poor, I can’t look at the mentally ill, I can’t look at the addicted and think we ought to ignore them,” Kasich said. “For those who live in the shadows of life, for those who are the least among us, I will not accept the fact that the most vulnerable in our state should be ignored. We can help them.”

Earlier yesterday, the Ohio Liberty Coalition, a network of tea party groups, threatened a primary challenge for any Republican lawmaker who votes in favor of the expansion.

Speaking of Medicaid expansion: OK, the evolving plan for expanding Medicaid in Arkansas MAY be constitutional in the outline I've heard. But I just don't think Republicans will sit idly and approve appropriations with sufficient cushion — if not specific authorization — to accommodate the Medicaid expansion. Even if they did, a 51-vote House and 18-vote Senate for general resolutions endorsing a governor's decision to expand Medicaid (a legislative "buy-in" is a pre-requisite for Beebe to move ahead) will be a steep hill for this legislature, based on party discipline so far. 75 votes? No way.

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