Anti-Abortion Groups Sue To Stop 300,000 Low Income People From Gaining Health Coverage

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

Two anti-abortion groups and six Republican lawmakers in Ohio are suing the state to block the expansion of Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

Ohio became the fourth GOP-led state to approve the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare on Monday.

Republican Gov. John Kasich brought the funding request to Ohio’s Controlling Board, bypassing the full legislature.

Six GOP lawmakers and the Right to Life chapters of Cleveland and Cincinnati say it’s illegal to go around the legislature and avoid debate on the measure. The lawsuit filed on Tuesday seeks to prevent the state from accepting the $2.56 billion in federal funding for the Medicaid expansion, which would provide health coverage for 275,000 to 330,000 low-income citizens.

It is unclear why the Right to Life chapters want to debate the expansion. Obamacare does not federally fund abortions, and Medicaid is already banned from abortion coverage under the Hyde Amendment, ThinkProgress reported.

Kasich says he doesn’t understand why the measure has received so much resistance.

“Why is it that some people don’t get it?” Kasich asked during an event last week to promote the expansion. “Is it because they’re hard-hearted or cold-hearted? It’s probably because they don’t understand the problem because they have never walked in somebody’s shoes.”

The governor cited his own religious convictions in supporting the expansion.

“I can’t look at the disabled, I can’t look at the poor, I can’t look at the mentally ill, I can’t look at the addicted and think we ought to ignore them,” Kasich said in February.

Sources: ThinkProgress, Times Union