You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

breaking news

Detectives on the scene of Springfield car fire

Kasich to keep pushing for Medicaid expansion

Advocates fear Obama decision to delay employer mandate could hurt effort.

Advocates for expanding Medicaid in Ohio, including Gov. John Kasich, say they will continue to push for expansion despite the Obama administration’s recent decision to delay a key portion of the federal health care law until next year.

Last week, the Obama administration said it would delay for one year the requirement that companies with 50 or more employees provide insurance to workers as part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare. The employer mandate was due to take effect on Jan. 1.

The move undermined a central argument a coalition pushing for the expansion of Medicaid eligibility had made in urging lawmakers to act before leaving for their summer recess, which began at the end of June.

“Taking the heat off in that respect definitely did us no favors,” said Ohio House Minority Leader Tracy Heard, D-Columbus, who called the delay of the employer mandate a “disappointment.”

Advocates argue that expanding Medicaid would make another 275,000 additional low-income Ohioans eligible for government health care, saving employers from either paying for insurance for some of those people or from paying millions in federal penalties.

The federal government has offered to pay for 100 percent of the costs for newly eligible Medicaid enrollees for three years, and then gradually scale back to 90 percent after that, an estimated $13 billion over seven years.

Greg Lawson, a policy analyst for the conservative Buckeye Institute, said the delay of the employer mandate highlights concerns that Ohio can’t count on the federal government to live up to its end of the deal.

“We will not be in the driver’s seat for a federal government program. We will be the victim of any policy changes they make,” Lawson said.

Advocates say waiting on expansion still potentially leaves hundreds of thousands of Ohioans without health insurance and leaves federal money on the table. The individual mandate is still on track and slated to take effect Jan. 1, 2014. Households that do not sign up will generally face a penalty of $95 a person.

“Practically speaking, the employer penalty argument bolstered our argument on the sense of urgency on this… but that’s not the only reason why Medicaid expansion made sense,” said Jon Allison, a well-connected Republican lobbyist who is heading up the expansion effort in Ohio.

Allison helped organize a rally Tuesday in which hundreds of pro-expansion advocates, representing hospitals, businesses, religious organizations and mental health service providers filled the Statehouse atrium.

Kasich was the event’s keynote speaker, and called on those in attendance to contact their state legislators and get them to take action. He told reporters afterwards that the delay of the employer mandate doesn’t impact his plan to continue pushing for expansion.

“Medicaid is Medicaid and Obamacare is Obamacare and Medicaid is Medicaid,” Kasich said. “They’re two different things. And I don’t I don’t see that they’re really connected.”

Ohio Democratic Chairman Chris Redfern on Tuesday blasted Kasich, saying he goes to rallies but hasn’t worked with Democrats on the issue, or brought any Republicans to his side.

“Actually working on bipartisan legislation to pass Medicaid expansion could take away from the governor’s time for rallies, which would be unfortunate,” Redfern said.

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Politics

Provision on wrongful imprisonment bounced from state budget bill
Provision on wrongful imprisonment bounced from state budget bill

A proposal to broaden who’s eligible for state money for being wrongfully imprisoned was removed from Ohio’s proposed state budget this week. But backers say they hope to bring it back as a standalone bill. “And we anticipate it passing,” said Mark Godsey, director of the Ohio Innocence Project. “This is merely correcting...
Ohio Politics Today: Budget goes to Kasich; State Medicaid cuts; Judy’s law; executions closer to resuming
Ohio Politics Today: Budget goes to Kasich; State Medicaid cuts; Judy’s law; executions closer to resuming

Ohio Politics Today is your catch-all for the latest in state, local and national politics.  After days of negotiation, the Ohio Senate and House passed it’s bi-annual budget. The bill now goes to the governor’s desk where he has two days to sign it. Things to know: The governor’s office say 500,000 could lose health insurance...
State softens plan to punish employers for not allowing guns on sites
State softens plan to punish employers for not allowing guns on sites

On Wednesday, the Ohio legislature reversed a plan to allow lawsuits for monetary damages if businesses violate a new law allowing concealed carry permit holders to bring guns onto other people’s property. After an outcry from business groups, the provision was changed in the state budget. The budget now goes to Ohio Gov. John Kasich. Last week...
VP Mike Pence in Cleveland promises replacement of ‘Obamacare’
VP Mike Pence in Cleveland promises replacement of ‘Obamacare’

Vice President Mike Pence said the administration is still working to pull Ohio Senator Rob Portman from “no” to “yes” on President Trump’s healthcare overhaul, which failed to receive a vote after Majority Leader Mitch McConnell pulled it Tuesday for lack of Republican support. Pence was visiting Cleveland...
Ohio Senate passes Judy’s Law, day after burn victim dies
Ohio Senate passes Judy’s Law, day after burn victim dies

The day after Judy Malinowski died, the Ohio Senate voted to toughen penalties for people who disfigure crime victims. Malinowski was set on fire by her ex-boyfriend and had been hospitalized for nearly two years. The bill, which would allow longer prison sentences for crimes that disfigure victims, now heads to Gov. John Kasich. Franklin County Prosecutor...
More Stories