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Kasich Warns Fellow Republicans Against Undercutting Ohio's Medicaid Expansion

Ohio Governor John Kasich speaks during the Ohio State of the State address in the Fritsche Theater at Otterbein University in Westerville, Tuesday, March 6, 2018.
Paul Vernon
Associated Press

Gov. John Kasich signed the new two-year $2.6 billion capital budget Friday at the site of a planned mental and behavioral health hospital in Columbus. It’s one of the investments included in that spending plan. But Kasich issued a warning of sorts too.

Kasich said his decision to expand Medicaid has allowed many Ohioans to get addiction and mental health treatment. And he urged continuation of that program once he leaves office.

“Now at some point, I will be gone and it will be very easy to cut the programs for people who need help. Don’t let it happen folks,” Kasich said.

Kasich says if it’s cut, health care services that help Ohio’s poorest and sickest residents will be cut too. All of the Democrats running for Governor say they want to keep Medicaid expansion.

But the Republican candidates say they want to redesign the program because it’s unsustainable.

"We've got to make some changes," said Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, who has suggested imposing work requirements for Medicaid.

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, who's publicly broken from Kasich on this issue, plans to shrink Medicaid with her first budget and limit access to people unable to work.