Yesterday, the Ohio House reconvened for an unusual session during their July 4th break to override 11 of Gov. Kasich's vetoes in the state budget. But, they skipped over the most watched item--a freeze on enrollment in the Medicaid expansion. This means hundreds of thousands of Ohioans facing chronic physical and mental health diagnoses, as well as drug and alcohol addictions, can breathe a little easier today knowing their care and treatment will, for now, remain in place.
At Voices, we are are very grateful to House members for pausing and listening to their constituents, including those of us who joined about 1,500 of our fellow Ohioans on the Statehouse steps Wednesday to call on our representatives to "save Medicaid and save lives."
We hope legislators will continue to be responsive to families who have benefited from this life-saving program because this fight is far from over. The House DID vote to restore a provision giving the General Assembly additional oversight of future Medicaid spending and revived the Healthy Ohio program, which would impose a premium for some Medicaid recipients that could squeeze an estimated 125,000 enrollees out of the program. And, don't forget, the House can vote to override vetoes in the budget anytime before the end of 2018, so expansion is not completely safe.
Of course, the House votes also need to be addressed in the Senate and it remains to be seen how that Chamber will react. Majority caucus members have not met this week and the Senate's July session schedule is not fixed.
In short, stay active in your districts and on social media. Continue to share research and stories that demonstrate Medicaid's impact on Ohio families and keep your protest signs handy. Stay tuned...