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Ohio Hospital Group Seeks To Take Medicaid Expansion To Voters

The debate over Medicaid expansion in Ohio continues, but now there’s word one group wants to try to take the issue to the ballot. The Ohio Hospital Association has long supported Governor Kasich’s plan to expand Medicaid to cover an additional 275,000 Ohioans. With the expansion stalled in the legislature, the group that represents Ohio hospitals is taking the first step to put the issue before voters. The OHA is working with the Ohio Alliance for Health Transformation on the initiative. Ohio Alliance's Jon Allison said the group is collecting signatures. They need to collect 1,000 valid signatures of registered voters. The OHA's John Palmer said the signatures to get language approved for a petition to expand Medicaid could be turned into the Ohio Attorney General’s Office within the next week. Palmer added in an email, "Ohio hospitals support a legislative resolution to this opportunity and by taking these steps with filing the appropriate paper work we (Coalition, Partners, OHA, etc.) want to ensure options remain on the table as this moves forward." If the Attorney General approves the petition, the groups then would have to collect hundreds of thousands of additional signatures to get the issue on the 2014 ballot. Hospitals support the Medicaid expansion because it would provide coverage to many patients without health insurance. Conservative Republicans oppose it because it is a major component of the Federal Health Care law, and they say Medicaid is a failed system that increases the nation’s debt.