Medicaid Rally Draws Wide Variety Of Supporters To Ohio Statehouse


UPDATED: Thursday April 11, 2013 6:20 PM

One of the most eclectic rally's in Ohio history united progressive health care advocates, conservative business groups, Ohio Right to Life, Democrats - all behind Gov. John Kasich's proposal to expand Medicaid.

"What you saw represented here today were stakeholders that normally aren't joined arm and arm, and they really are from the most conservative to most liberal," said Janet Grant.

Grant and Jenny Michael sat together in the rain along with 2,500 other supporters.

"We felt so positive when Gov. Kasich supported Medicaid expansion and he did it because it's the right thing to do," said Jenny.  "And now to hear members of his own party turn away from the working poor, it's incredibly frustrating to us."

Columbus resident Susan Bennett spoke at the rally.  She's been battling skin cancer, while fighting for Medicaid coverage.

"In addition to me, there are a number of people out there that if they had the Medicaid insurance they would be able to get back to work but right now because they don't have any insurance they can't get the healthcare they need and are therefore incapable of working," said Bennett.

Earlier this week, House Republicans sided with tea party supporters and not Kasich.

"Medicaid is a failing program.  It's a wasteful program and it's an expensive program, and that's why we're trying to stop it," said Maurice Thompson of the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

Thompson, and other tea party leaders, warned that if Kasich doesn't back off his budget plan, he could face primary opposition next year.

“Hopefully, the message the governor hears loud and clear are that many policies in his budget are bad policies," Thompson said.

But Effie Thompson, who attended the rally, has an equally forceful message for those that oppose Medicaid expansion.

"If you can't stand up for your country, your state, your local government with this Medicaid expansion, we will remember you in 2014 and 2016," said Thompson.

The House budget now heads to the state senate.

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