Ohio House Speaker Continues To Hedge On Blocking Medicaid Expansion

Bill Batchelder, Speaker of the Ohio House of representatives
Bill Batchelder, Speaker of the Ohio House of representatives

Ohio House Speaker Bill Batchelder isn’t saying whether he will replace a member of the Controlling Board in order to manipulate the vote on accepting federal money to expand Medicaid.

Governor Kasich is asking the legislative panel to allow the state to take in more than two billion dollars over the next two years that would be used to expand Medicaid to 275 thousand low income Ohioans.

But Batchelder says he doesn’t like the idea of using the controlling board in this way. He says he’s worried about the reaction of members of the house when the issue comes before the legislative panel next week.

"Of course, I never become excited, but some others do so you want to be careful," Batchelder says.

"This is a very important issue to the people of the state of Ohio... and the inner branch relationship is very important to me. This Governor... understands that and he and I can talk about those kinds of things. So my hope would be that everybody stays in their baskets and be very polite."

Batchelder says he plans to talk with his members on the controlling board and with Governor Kasich during the next couple of days.

Batchelder is among about 40 members of the general assembly who signed a protest letter that will be read into the official record. While the letter does not carry any legal weight, it accuses Governor Kasich of violating the Ohio constitution by using the controlling board as a way to get around the will of the Ohio General Assembly. Lawmakers in the House and Senate have not taken a vote on Medicaid expansion itself but they refused to include it as part of the new two year state budget.

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