In October, state Sen. Chris Widener cast his vote in favor of expanding Medicaid as a member of the State Controlling Board. On Tuesday, the Springfield Republican explained to a House committee that the moment has arrived to draw a “clear-cut and common sense boundary” curbing the authority of the board.
Widener wants to limit the Controlling Board to appropriating no more than 1 percent of the state general revenue fund, or roughly $300 million. Such a restriction would have barred the board from approving the $2.5 billion in federal money for the Medicaid expansion.
Now Widener has second thoughts? Or is he merely playing to those in his party who want to deliver some sort of payback?
If Republican legislative leaders had allowed a vote in each chamber, chances are bipartisan majorities would have sided with Gov. John Kasich in seeing the value of the expansion. So the Controlling Board hardly acted out of line.
More, the board has proved a valuable tool for lawmakers, adding flexibility and responsiveness. Rest assured, if a proposal arrives at the board to spend more than $300 million, it will invite and receive plenty of scrutiny.