COLUMBUS: Backers of Medicaid expansion in Ohio have started to gather initial signatures to get the issue before voters should the Legislature not act.

Jon Allison of the Ohio Alliance for Health Transformation says a formal announcement about the campaign is expected next week. The Columbus Dispatch first reported the signature gathering.

He says his coalition of diverse advocates would prefer the Legislature pass an extension of the federal-state Medicaid program.

Lawmakers have been trying to find common ground on whether to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income people. Republican leaders pulled it from the state budget in April, and the issue has yet to gain traction.

The House speaker recently said his chamber wouldn’t be ready to take any action on Medicaid by October, but more likely by year’s end.