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Ohio Controlling Board Votes to Fund Medicaid Expansion

The Ohio Controlling Board approved funding to expand Medicaid in a 5-2 vote Monday afternoon.

That means beginning this January, over 300,000 Ohioans could become newly eligible for the state-run health insurance program, and around 275,000 are expected to get covered in 2014. The expansion extends state Medicaid programs to cover all adults making up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or a little less than $16,000 for an individual.

Governor John Kasich has been in an ongoing face-off with his own party over whether Ohio will accept federal funding for the expansion. At stake is subsidized coverage for the state's poorest people; anyone making 100 percent or more of the federal poverty level can use the Affordable Care Act Marketplace, but those below the line don't qualify for those subsidies. Nearly half the states have not taken on Medicaid expansion, which leaves hundreds of thousands in a coverage gap in those states.

Kasich recently announced he would circumvent the Republican-run legislature and ask the seven-person Controlling Board to approve over $2 billion in federal funding for the program.

That request was approved, but Republican legislators and conservative activists have said they will sue to block to expansion.