Groups that want Medicaid expansion are looking at their options right now. John Begala with the Center for Community Solutions wants Medicaid expansion as part of the state budget. But he says he’s willing to give lawmakers time to come up with Medicaid reforms that would allow low income Ohioans to purchase private health insurance with federal dollars. Still, Begala says he says his group is not willing to wait forever. He says if they don’t do it by the end of this year, his group is looking at another alternative: letting Ohio voters decide whether to expand Medicaid.
"We’ve retained legal counsel to advise us on the process of getting to the ballot, either through initiative or referendum in a statutory or constitutional change," says Begala.
If it does come down to that, Begala has reason to hope Medicaid expansion will pass at the ballot box. A recent Columbus Dispatch poll shows Ohioans approve of expanding Medicaid 62 to 29 percent. But those who don’t like the idea of Medicaid expansion say a vote by Ohioans two years ago proves otherwise. That’s when Ohioans voted, nearly two to one, for a constitutional amendment, proclaiming the state is exempt from the new federal mandate that virtually everyone have insurance.