Gov. Kasich expected to pitch Medicaid expansion today

Push comes today for Medicaid expansion

COLUMBUS, Ohio - It wasn't the route he wanted to take, but Ohio Governor John Kasich will likely get the result he wanted: expanded Medicaid coverage for 275,000 more Ohioans, including 26,000 veterans.

Kasich this afternoon will ask the state's seven-member Controlling Board to approve the spending of $2.56 billion in federal money to expand Medicaid under the president's Affordable Care Act.

The governor sought the expansion in his recently passed biennial budget but the Republican-controlled legislature removed it. This forced Kasich to seek approval from the Controlling Board, which has the authority to receive and spend revenue not anticipated by a state budget.

Under the plan the federal government will pay 100 percent of the expansion costs for the first three years, decreasing to 90 percent after that.

The board is made up of six legislators - four Republican, two Democrat - and a seventh member representing the administration President Randy Cole.

Cole and the two Democrats Sen. Tom Sawyer of Akron and Rep. Chris Redfern of Port Clinton are expected to vote yes, leaving the administration to pick up one more vote among the remaining four Republicans.

Because two of the four - Rep. Ron Amstutz of Wooster and Rep. Cliff Rosenberger from outside Cincinnati - are candidates to replace term limited House Speaker Bill Batchelder of Medina, it's possible Batchelder could replace the men before the board's 1:30 p.m. meeting.

In all, the board will be considering 65 items Monday, with Medicaid expansion item number 40 on the agenda.

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