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Kasich signs budget; vetoes Medicaid expansion ban

COLUMBUS, Ohio - Gov. John Kasich has vetoed a piece of the two-year budget that would bar the state’s Medicaid program from covering the additional low-income residents allowed under the Affordable Care Act.

The $62 billion spending plan includes cuts in income and business taxes and an increase in the state sales tax.

“It’s a sign of the inclusive, deliberate approach that produced this budget that we avoided the gridlock that so plagues Washington,” Kasich said.

Democrats and others claim the tax cuts favor the wealthy while the sales tax hike burden low- and middle-income Ohioans.

“The budget signed by Governor Kasich today fails a vast majority of Ohioans because of the way the bill unfairly places an increased tax burden on middle and working class taxpayers and fails to prioritize much needed funding that our communities rely on,”  Ohio AFL-CIO president Tim Burga said.

The Republican governor also vetoed 21 other provisions in signing off on budget, which took effect today, Sunday night.

Kasich’s proposed budget had initially called for expanding Medicaid but GOP leaders stripped the idea from the House version of the state spending plan in April.

The House went even further, inserting a provision blocking the expansion.

Associate state director of AARP Ohio Bill Sundermeyer called the budget a disservice to Ohioans.

“There are polls out there that indicate that the issue has the support of more than 60 percent of the population, and we feel strongly that it needs to get done and it needs to have serious attention in the legislative body,” he said.

Roughly 366,000 Ohioans will be eligible for coverage beginning in 2014 if the state expands Medicaid, a key component of Democratic President Barack Obama’s federal health care law.

Kasich has indicated he will continue to try to expand the program rather than forego the millions of federal dollars being promised to states that grant Medicaid coverage to more of their residents.

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