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AARP AARP States Advocacy

Ohio leaders urged to schedule hearings, vote

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AARP Ohio is deeply disappointed that the General Assembly is leaving Columbus without expanding health coverage in the state budget even though there are legislators on both sides of the aisle who support the issue.

“We are concerned for the more than 275,000 Ohioans who could, but don’t yet, have healthcare coverage. At risk are those who cannot find jobs, people working but without adequate coverage, and our veterans," said Jane Taylor, state director for AARP Ohio. “Governor John Kasich stepped forward and proposed expanding coverage for our most vulnerable citizens. We are confident a majority of legislators want this to be enacted. It is a disservice to Ohioans that no vote was taken in June.”​

AARP Ohio is part of a broad-based coalition that has responsibly and repeatedly stated the case for extending coverage to veterans and low-wage workers who lack health insurance.

“We joined a diverse coalition of hospital and business leaders, advocates, healthcare providers, behavioral health leaders, community organizations, faith leaders and labor,” Taylor said. “Coalition members brought countless knowledgeable witnesses to testify before committees and to meet with individual lawmakers. Thousands of Ohioans wrote and called their state legislators on this issue. In April, 2,500 people stood outside the Statehouse in the pouring rain to rally for the cause and protest the House’s decision to take healthcare expansion out of the budget bill. Throughout the process, meetings were held in various legislative districts so that individuals could participate. Major newspapers across the state wrote editorials in support of Ohio taking advantage of this opportunity.

“Now that the legislature has recessed with this vital need for healthcare unfinished, we are left with promises from legislative leaders that they will work on the issue over the summer. Speaker Batchelder on June 20 th spoke of a goal to have this resolved in '45-55 days’. If this is the case, we should anticipate a resolution by mid-August. The specifics should be available now so we know when the committee work will begin, the process and the target date for completion.

“AARP Ohio and its coalition partners stand ready to continue our strong efforts on this critical issue throughout the summer. We call on the General Assembly to do the same. Let's get started.”

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