Ohio Medicaid Expansion Initiative (2014)

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An Ohio Medicaid Expansion Initiative may appear on the November 4, 2014 ballot in Ohio as an indirect initiated state statute.[1]

If approved by voters, the measure, which is sponsored by the group Ohio Alliance for Health Transformation, extends the federally-subsidized insurance program to more low-income Ohioans. If supporters gather enough signatures, the measure will go before the legislature. If the legislature fails to act within four months, the measure will go before voters.[1]

Background

Approximately 366,000 people would meet the qualifications required to participate in the program.[1] Single people making $15,000 or less annually and families of at least three making $26,000 or less annually would become eligible if the measure is passed.[2]

Support

The group Ohio Alliance for Health Transformation. Supporters contend that expanding Medicaid would make delivering medical care more efficient, and it would grant coverage to those who don't currently have any.[2] Jon Allison, of the Ohio Alliance for Health Transformation, said, "Legislative action to authorize Medicaid expansion remains the No. 1 priority." The AARP also supports the measure.[1]

Opposition

Those opposed to the measure argue that expanding coverage would be too expensive to taxpayers. Rep. John Becker (R-65) spoke out against the measure, saying, "I have issues with the federal government reaching into one person's pocket and taking money and giving it to another person. You have this issue of expanding a dependency class. You know, I hate the idea of that as well. I'd rather see people off the government rolls." He contends that the program is rife with waste, abuse and fraud.[2]

Path to the ballot

See also: Laws governing the initiative process in Ohio

This measure will need to clear multiple hurdles before it can appear on the ballot. First, supporters must collect at least 1,000 valid signatures. Supporters must file these signatures, along with a copy and summary of the proposed measure, with the Ohio Attorney General. Supporters must also select a group of between three to five people to represent the petitioners. Once the Attorney General deems the measure fair and accurate, it is forwarded on to the Ohio Ballot Board to ensure it addresses only one subject.

It is then transferred to the Secretary of State who must certify it for circulation. Upon certification, supporters must collect at least 115,574 signatures in order to put the measure before the legislature. If the legislature does nothing with the proposal, supporters must collect an additional 115,574 signatures. However, supporters do not have to wait for the legislature to act before collecting the second round of signatures. If a group believes the legislature will not do anything with the measure, they can begin the required signatures right away. Any additional signatures from the first round of canvassing can be applied to the number required for the second round.[1]

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