Friday, October 11, 2013

UPDATED: Kasich seeks Controlling Board approval for Medicaid expansion

Gongwer is reporting that Ohio Gov. John Kasich's administration will seek approval from the Controlling Board to expand Medicaid up to 138% of the federal poverty level.

The Department of Medicaid on Friday submitted a request to the panel seeking authorization to spend federal funds totaling $500,000 million in FY14 and $2 billion in FY15 to extend the program to cover citizens up to 138% of the federal poverty level, as originally proposed by Gov. John Kasich in his biennium budget bill.

The Controlling Board’s next meeting is Oct. 21. GOP legislative leaders have thus far been coy about providing votes for the plan; at least one Republican vote will be needed to clear the spending through the seven-member panel.

“Only the General Assembly can authorize Medicaid to spend funds in this way, either through a bill or the Controlling Board,” Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said in an email. “The Administration has been preparing to implement this change when the General Assembly gives its ok and we’ll be ready.”

Despite the shutdown, federal officials approved Ohio’s proposal to expand the entitlement program earlier this week...apparently, such approval is an 'essential' function of government.

See Jason Hart's post at MediaTrackers for more background on the continuing saga.

UPDATE: Statement from Chairman of the House Finance and Appropriations Committee and member of the State Controlling Board Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster):

"I have grave concerns about the place, the time and the substance of this proposed Controlling Board action. Based on our solid track record of passing tough bills, I would expect a far superior and more creative solution by legislative enactment than what I fear may result from effectively crimping the legislative process."

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