Governor’s end-run around the Ohio General Assembly violates the separation of powers, Controlling Board’s vote impermissibly contradicts General Assembly intent
Columbus, OH – The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law late yesterday moved in the Ohio Supreme Court, on behalf of six veteran Ohio legislators and two of Ohio’s largest pro-life organizations, to stop Ohio’s executive branch from expanding Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) Medicaid spending without legislative approval.
The legal action is filed on behalf of State Representatives Matt Lynch, Ron Young, Andy Thompson, Ron Maag, John Becker, and Ron Hood, and Cleveland Right to Life and Right to Life of Greater Cincinnati. These representatives and groups combine to represent nearly 1 million Ohioans.
The action asserts that in accepting jurisdiction over and passing the Governor’s proposed Medicaid spending, the Controlling Board exceeded its legal authority by acting inconsistently with the intent of the Ohio General Assembly. Specifically:
R.C. 127.17 states: “The Controlling Board shall take no action which does not carry out the legislative intent of the general assembly regarding program goals and levels of support of state agencies as expressed in the prevailing appropriation acts of the general assembly.”
The Ohio General Assembly first removed Governor Kasich’s proposed expansion of Medicaid spending from the state budget bill, and then inserted a prohibition against the expansion and spending.
Article II of the Ohio Constitution requires that the legislature, rather than administrative boards such as the Controlling Board, make major policy decisions.
In a 1980 challenge to the Controlling Board, the Ohio Supreme Court held that the Controlling Board’s authority is only constitutional because it must adhere to the intentions of the General Assembly, and because of “the availability of mandamus relief” through the High Court.
“Many competent individuals make strong arguments against Medicaid Expansion on policy grounds. Success in our lawsuit, however, will not prohibit changes to Medicaid through legitimate means. Our lawsuit stands for the simple proposition that neither this Governor nor any other is a king,” said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center.
“For government to be limited, the making of transformational public policy requires the assent of the Ohio General Assembly, and cannot be done through administrative overreach. This occasion requires Ohioans to draw a line in the sand and affirm that we’d rather not bring Washington D.C.- style decision-making to Ohio.”
The Supreme Court of the United States, in its seminal decision last July in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, explained that the spending expansion transforms a state’s Medicaid program from “a program to care for the neediest among us” to “an element of a comprehensive national plan to provide universal health insurance coverage” that “dramatically increases state obligations under Medicaid,” and is “an attempt to foist an entirely new health care system upon the States.”
Read the Complaint HERE.
October 23, 2013: Dayton Business Journal: Ohio Medicaid expansion gets legal challenge
October 23, 2013: WOSU NPR 89.7: Activists, Lawmakers Bring Promised Lawsuit Over Medicaid
October 22, 2013: Cincinnati.com: SW Ohio conservatives file suit to stop Medicaid expansion
October 22, 2013: Bloomberg: Ohio Medicaid Expansion Plan Challenged in Lawsuit
October 21, 2013: New York Times: Medicaid Expansion Is Set for Ohioans
October 21, 2013: Columbus Dispatch: Medicaid-expansion opponents plan to sue Kasich administration
October 21, 2013: 60 Seconds Ohio: Maurice Thompson answers questions following Ohio expansion of Medicaid [VIDEO]
October 14, 2013: NBC 4: Controlling Board Medicaid Maneuver May Face Legal Challenge [VIDEO]