Tharp, Bates urge state legislature to include Medicaid expansion in budget


Lucas County Sheriff John Tharp and Prosecutor Julia Bates today added their voices to the chorus of Democrats urging the state legislature to include an expansion of Medicaid in the state budget.

During a news conference with the director of Fight Crime: Invest in Kids Ohio, both county officials said it makes better sense to invest in health care coverage for the poor now rather than later when the children of drug and alcohol-addicted mothers find their way to the criminal justice system.

“I feel like a complete broken record. Every time we call a press conference and you all come I’m talking about prevention,” Mrs. Bates said. “I cant say enough about prevention, and here we are again today talking about an initiative that is more than anything prevention.”

Cyndy Rees, state director of the Fight Crime organization, said more than 150,000 women in Ohio between the ages of 19 and 44 would become Medicaid eligible if coverage was extended. Republican Gov. John Kasich proposed extending Medicaid to those who earn up to 38 percent over the federal poverty level in his budget, but the measure was excluded in the House budget.