Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine on Friday said the group's petition contained the necessary 1,000 valid signatures from Ohio registered voters as well as a "fair and truthful" summary of the proposed constitutional amendment.
The Ohio Ballot Board must now review the proposal in order for the advocates to continue their effort. Supporters must then gather 115,574 valid signatures from registered voters. Once those are verified, the General Assembly has four months to act on the proposed law. If legislators pass, amend or take no action, then a supplemental petition may be circulated to get it before Ohio voters.
Advocates of the expansion have said they would prefer that the Legislature act, making a ballot measure unnecessary.
State lawmakers have been trying to find common ground on whether to expand Medicaid health coverage to more low-income people since Republican Gov. John Kasich proposed that course of action in February. GOP leaders pulled it from the state budget, and the issue has yet to gain traction.
Roughly 366,000 Ohioans would be newly eligible for coverage beginning in 2014 by expanding Medicaid. The federal-state health program for the poor already provides care for one of every five residents in the state. The federal government would pay the entire cost of the expansion for the first three years, gradually phasing down to 90%—still well above Ohio's current level of almost 64%.