Supreme Court Decision Supports Medicaid Expansion

The Ohio Supreme Court, Dec. 20, unanimously reaffirmed the authority of the Kasich administration to expand Medicaid to an estimated 275,000 poor, uninsured Ohioans through the State Controlling Board. 

In a 4-3 ruling, written by Chief Justice Maureen O’Connor, the court said the groups challenging the administration’s action failed in their lawsuit because they did not adequately show that the Controlling Board had a clear legal duty to follow the directives of the legislature “when those directives are not expressed in the final, enrolled bill.” Justices Paul E. Pfeifer, William M. O’Neill and Judith Ann Lanzinger concurred. The three dissenting justices — Terrence O’Donnell, Sharon L. Kennedy and Judith L. French — said they would have dismissed the case without issuing a ruling.

Two days earlier, organizers of Healthy Ohioans Work filed paperwork to withdraw their petition to place the issue on the November 2014 ballot. The group of health advocates, business and labor organizations launched the petition effort in September after state lawmakers balked at the idea of expanding Medicaid. Subsequently, expansion was approved by action of the State Controlling Board; then challenged in the Ohio Supreme Court.

Numerous amicus briefs supporting the administration's actions were filed by scores of organizations, including one jointly filed by the OOA, Ohio Hospital Association and Ohio State Medical Association. Other organizations supporting the administration ranged from advocacy groups like the American Cancer Society, American Association of Retired People and National Alliance of Mental Health to a wide variety of business organizations  like the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, Ohio Association of Health Plans, and Ohio Manufacturers Association. For a complete list of interested parties and copies of the various amicus briefs, go to

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