Leaders in the Summit County faith community are working to help collect 9,200 signatures needed in the Akron-Canton area as part of a statewide petition drive to place the issue of Medicaid expansion on the ballot.
On Sunday, pastors will be circulating petitions at their churches and addressing the issue from pulpits. The local effort also includes a three-day petition drive from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. today, Thursday and Friday at the Akron Urban League, 440 Vernon Odom Blvd., according to Latoya Peterson, who is mobilizing the faith-based community from Mount Calvary Baptist Church.
Local advocates of Medicaid expansion also are making available information sheets for pastors to distribute and are asking pastors and parishioners to visit http://medicaidhelps.com for more information.
As part of the Affordable Care Act, states were required to change the eligibility rules for Medicaid to help more uninsured people access insurance coverage. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states have a right to accept or decline expansion.
Gov. John Kasich is one of a few Republican governors to take advantage of the law’s Medicaid expansion to reach more low-income citizens. A lawsuit, which challenges the state’s decision to accept federal funds for expansion from January 2014 to June 2015 is being reviewed by the Ohio Supreme Court.
Meanwhile, expansion advocates are positioning themselves to move forward with a ballot initiative for Ohio to adopt Medicaid expansion beyond 18 months.
Peterson, who is a University of Akron Law School student, can be reached at 614-288-1151.