COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A proposal to freeze enrollment under Ohio’s Medicaid expansion is gaining traction as a way to get conservative support for the state budget.

Republican House Finance Chairman Ryan Smith said Friday that the proposal is “important to a number of members” of his caucus. He expected to explore the proposal at a budget meeting Saturday.

A budget amendment backed by conservatives would prohibit any new enrollees to Medicaid who qualify through the federal Affordable Care Act. Current enrollees could stay on the program until they became ineligible or until Congress acted to reduce the federal match.

The move would jeopardize a portion of the $650 million in federal matching funds Ohio receives annually for drug addiction and behavioral services, even as the House budget prioritized tackling Ohio’s opioid epidemic.

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Ohio House eyes freezing enrollment under Medicaid expansion