Kasich's Medicaid Maneuver Could Trigger Political Trouble Ahead

Oct 25, 2013

Members of the Ohio controlling board prior to the Medicaid expansion vote. From front to back, Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Port Clinton), Rep. Jeff McClain (R-Upper Sandusky), Controlling Board Secretary Anne Dean, Controlling Board President Randy Cole, and Sen. Bill Coley (R-Cincinnati).
Credit Jo Ingles / Ohio Public Radio

Governor Kasich bypassed the Ohio legislature this week when the state's controlling board approved federal money to expand Medicaid. One day after that decision, anti-abortion groups and six Republican lawmakers filed a suit to stop the measure. Emily McCord speaks to Ohio Public Radio's Karen Kasler for PoliticsOhio. Kasler reports the move could spell trouble for Kasich's agenda going forward.

Kasler reports that two lawmakers, Rep. Ron Amstutz (R-Wooster) and  Rep. Cliff Rosenberger (R-Clarksville), were removed from the controlling board prior to the vote by the house speaker, Republican Bill Batchelder. Both are contenders to replace him.

Amstutz in particular was outspoken against using the controlling board as a means to pass Medicaid expansion, and said he was disappointed he was not able to vote on the issue. Rosenberger was also an opponent. Kasler says if either one becomes Speaker and if Kasich is reelected, it could cause clashes that have not been seen yet between the Governor and lawmaker at the Ohio statehouse.

Kasler also adds that this could heat up the contest between Kasich and his Democratic challenger, Ed Fitzgerald, who both support Medicaid expansion. Even though they agree on the issue itself, Kasler says they could end up disagreeing on how the process of Medicaid expansion unfolded.