COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Republican legislators in Ohio are bracing for a veto fight with GOP Gov. John Kasich as the national health care debate hits the 2016 presidential contender on his home turf.

Conservatives are calling on the outspoken Kasich to set a national example by leaving in place a state budget provision that freezes new enrollment under Medicaid expansion starting July 1, 2018. Kasich must decide by midnight Friday.

Allowing the freeze would mark a stunning reversal for Kasich. He's been one of the GOP's most vocal defenders of the expansion, made possible under the federal health care law reviled, and now targeted, by his party.

But striking the provision threatens to destabilize Ohio's budget and to harm Ohio's Republican legislators with their constituents in the politically divided battleground state.