CINCINNATI - Health care remains the key issue in the race for Ohio governor. Both candidates have been in Cincinnati the past two days pitching their plans to voters.
Democrat Richard Cordray says he wants to keep the expanded Medicaid program and protect people with pre-existing conditions.
Republican Mike DeWine is saying something very similar, thought he wants to require people to work for Medicaid benefits.
So, how does this apply to the opioid crisis?
Cordray met supporters at Democratic headquarters in Butler County on Wednesday. Then, he came to Cincinnati for an appearance at the Center for Closing the Health Gap with Doctors for Cordray.
Cordray put the opioid crisis front and center in his health care plan.
“When you have good health care in the state, you can prevent and try to treat people who are moving into a psycho drug dependency and try to pull them out of it,” Cordray said.
DeWine appeared Tuesday at a rally with Sen. Lindsey Graham and republicans. DeWine acknowledged the drug problem, but added he's working on solutions.
“We have a 12-point plan,” DeWine said. “It's a very solid plan that's focused a lot on prevention and education starting in kindergarten, K-12. Cordray's plan is really state Issue 1.”
Issue 1 would amend the Ohio Constitution to reduce drug penalties and send fewer people to prison.
Cordray says that changes what he called the failed status quo.
“Fentanyl has flooded this state. Opioid deaths have risen year in and year out. He has not had an effective plan to combat it. He still doesn't,” Cordray said.
Both candidates vow to provide more resources to communities from the local government fund - especially when it comes to children's services.
“Half the kids in foster care are there today because one or both parents are drug addicts,” DeWine said. “We're going to significantly increase the funds that go back to the local community to help these kids.
“There are things we need to do to strengthen the foster-care system and deal with the real impact on the social services network of the opioid crisis,” said Cordray.
Both Cordray and DeWine say they're confident they'll win the race.
Some polls show a tossup, but the reality is it depends on results from robust early voting and appearances at the polls next Tuesday.