Husted said DeWine would ask the president for the option to develop a sustainable Medicaid expansion system


By David Skolnick

skolnick@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

Jon Husted, Republican gubernatorial frontrunner Mike DeWine’s lieutenant governor running mate, said if elected, they would ask the president to give Ohio the option to develop a Medicaid expansion “system that’s actually sustainable.”

DeWine hasn’t discussed whether he’d get rid of the expansion that covers an additional 700,000 poor people, including 18,000 in Mahoning County.

Husted said Wednesday during a campaign stop at America Makes: “There’s kind of a false conversation going on. People are saying, ‘Do you keep it or does it go away?’ There’s actually a third way, and that’s to ask the Trump administration to give us a block grant or a waiver so we can design a system that’s actually sustainable, because at present, it’s not sustainable at the federal or the state level.”

Earlier Wednesday, Mahoning County Democrats criticized DeWine and Husted for not being clear on where they stand on Medicaid expansion, urging them to support it.

“It’s very important we understand what our candidates are doing for our local governments,” said county Commissioner Carol Rimedio-Righetti. “When you start cutting Medicaid expansion, you start hurting the lives of those people that are the most vulnerable.”

Rimedio-Righetti and county Democratic Party Chairman David Betras stood in front of a 15-foot-tall inflatable rubber duck – it took several minutes for it to be blown up and blew over in the wind at one point – to highlight that DeWine is “ducking” the question of Medicaid expansion.

Husted said the state has “to find a way to provide care for people in a way that we can afford it. What we’ll do is ask the Trump administration for Medicaid waivers so that we can continue to provide access to care, but in a way that’s sustainable and affordable, that doesn’t force us to sacrifice funding for K-12 education and other state priorities.”

He added: “We believe that we can find an Ohio solution to Ohio problems that makes sense both financially and from the point of view of providing care for people in need.”

Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, the other Republican gubernatorial candidate, supports eliminating Medicaid expansion.

Democratic gubernatorial candidates state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Boardman, ex-U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich, former Ohio Supreme Court Justice Bill O’Neill and Richard Cordray, a former state treasurer and attorney general, want to keep Medicaid expansion.

Outgoing Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, agreed to take federal money to expand Medicaid eligibility three years ago.

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