COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Backers of Medicaid expansion have started gathering initial signatures in an effort that could put the idea before Ohio voters if the Republican-controlled Legislature fails to act.
A formal announcement about the campaign and its players is expected to come next week, Jon Allison of the Ohio Alliance for Health Transformation said Friday.
State lawmakers have been trying to find common ground on whether to expand Medicaid health coverage to more low-income people since Republican Gov. John Kasich proposed an extension of the program in February. GOP leaders pulled it from the state budget, and the issue has yet to gain traction.
The House speaker recently said his chamber wouldn’t be ready to take any action on Medicaid by October, but more likely by year’s end.
Allison’s broad coalition of Ohio hospitals, business groups, consumer advocates and religious organizations supports Medicaid expansion, as does AARP Ohio. And they’re focused on get state lawmakers to approve the program’s extension, Allison said.
“Legislative action to authorize Medicaid expansion remains the No. 1 priority,” he said in a phone interview.