Ohioans in Key Senate Districts Oppose Kasich’s Medicaid Push

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Likely voters in Ohio Senate District 10 (SD 10) and Ohio Senate District 12 (SD 12) oppose Governor John Kasich’s request for the Ohio Controlling Board to appropriate Obamacare Medicaid expansion funding, a pair of Opportunity Ohio polls released on October 18 reveal.

On October 16 and October 17, Magellan Strategies conducted automated phone polling of over 400 registered voters in each district. When the governor’s Controlling Board request was explained to respondents, 46 percent of SD 10 voters and 59 percent of SD 12 voters opposed appropriating Medicaid expansion funds through the Controlling Board.

Senator Chris Widener, who is widely anticipated to be the Controlling Board’s lone Republican “Yes” vote approving use of Obamacare money for Medicaid expansion, represents SD 10.

Senate President Keith Faber, who represents SD 12, may swap out Controlling Board members — and thus could potentially stop the Controlling Board from buckling to pressure from Gov. Kasich to enact a policy rejected by the General Assembly.

In Sen. Widener’s district, 43 percent supported Kasich’s effort to expand Medicaid via executive action and a Controlling Board appropriation. In Sen. Faber’s district, only 27 percent supported the Republican governor’s latest Obamacare expansion maneuver.

Here is the Controlling Board question the Opportunity Ohio polls posed to respondents:

As you may know, Ohio has a Controlling Board made up of six state legislators and one designee from the Ohio Office of Budget and Management. Ordinarily, the Ohio House and Senate must appropriate money for the state of Ohio to spend money. The Controlling Board, however, has the authority to accept funds not anticipated by the state budget.

In the Budget passed in June 2013, the Ohio House and Senate specifically rejected Governor Kasich’s proposal to expand Medicaid to residents with income levels up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. In an effort to circumvent the Ohio House and Senate, Governor Kasich now wants to expand Medicaid by executive order and ask the Controlling Board to approve the acceptance of federal funds for it.

Knowing this information, do you support or oppose Governor Kasich’s efforts to expand Medicaid by executive order and ask the Controlling Board to approve the acceptance of federal funds?

In both Ohio Senate districts, support for the Controlling Board appropriating Obamacare Medicaid expansion money dropped when respondents were reminded in a separate question that the Kaiser Family Foundation estimates Ohio’s Medicaid costs would increase by $4 billion over the next decade.

Opposition jumped considerably, to 57 percent in SD 10 and 67 percent in SD 12, when another followup question informed those polled that Gov. Kasich threatens to bankrupt Ohio’s Medicaid program if the Controlling Board refuses to appropriate money from Obamacare.

Asked about the Obamacare Medicaid expansion itself, 50 percent of those polled in SD 10 voiced support for the policy, while just 30 percent of those polled in SD 12 were supportive of the expansion.

Pointing out details from the polls’ cross-tabs in an October 18 announcement, Opportunity Ohio CEO Matt Mayer noted that in SD 10, “77% of Democrats favor expansion while 59% of Republicans oppose expansion; Independents are split on expansion with 45% favoring it and 44% opposing it,” while in SD 12, “54% of Democrats favor expansion while 73% of Republicans and 61% of Independents oppose expansion.”

Opportunity Ohio’s poll of 443 registered voters in SD 10 had a 4.65 percent margin of error, with 33 percent of respondents identifying themselves as Republican.

The SD 12 poll of 436 registered voters had a 4.69 percent margin of error, with 38 percent of those polled identifying as Republican.

A total of 89 percent of SD 10 respondents said they were extremely likely to vote in the November 2014 election, with 88 percent of SD 12 respondents saying the same.

The Ohio Controlling Board is scheduled to vote on the appropriation request from the Kasich Administration on October 21.