'Too important to leave hanging'

by Sarah Jane Tribble for Cleveland.com

January 13, 2013

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- For Ohio’s health care industry and patient advocates, all eyes are on Gov. John Kasich and the two-year state budget he’s expected to propose on Feb. 4.

Will the Republican state leader expand Medicaid and offer government-supported health insurance to an estimated additional 600,000 of the state’s poorest?

“We will all know together,” said Greg Moody, the leader of Kasich’s office of health transformation, which is charged with revamping the state’s Medicaid program.

Moody declined on January 9 to provide any hint as to the administration’s decision, but he did say an answer will be in the budget. If the expansion is in the proposed budget, the plan will still have to be approved by state legislators. If it is not included in the budget, political experts say expansion would be very unlikely.

“We want to be clear: This is too important to leave hanging,” Moody said. “One way or the other, if it’s an expansion, we need to plan. If it’s not an expansion, we need to plan.”