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Statehouse Rally Urges Medicaid Expansion

Medicaid rally participants 2013
Jo Ingles
Ohio Public Radio

Hundreds of advocates for low income Ohioans packed into the Statehouse on Tuesday for a rally to urge lawmakers to expand Medicaid.  It’s the latest in an ongoing fight between Republican legislative leaders who don’t want to expand Medicaid and Governor Kasich, who backs the idea.   But Democratic State Representative Mike Foley says the Governor needs to do more to get majority lawmakers to pass Medicaid expansion now.

"Look this is crunch time and it’s more that public relations than we need to be engaging in.  He needs to be making individual phone calls to his caucus and members of his party and really putting the hammer and screws to some of those people who are supposedly in the middle so we know as a body politic where these people stand," says Foley.

Kasich says he doesn’t want to strong arm lawmakers into voting for expansion right now.  He says this is a process of working with Republican lawmakers to help them realize why Medicaid Expansion should happen.   Kasich says he knows how he wants to go about this process.

"If I put people in a corner, I am unlikely to get what I want to help people who need help.," says Kasich. "Now, if I will be persistent and pleasant and working on this…..Now, all options are on the table.  If the legislature doesn’t do it, then we are going to look at all options that we can possibly do to bring it forward so we are not going to quit on this."

Kasich says it will be problematic if the legislature waits until the end of the year to put something in place.    Democrats say they want Medicaid expansion to happen by the end of August.