Kasich embrace of Obamacare program angers some conservatives
February 5th, 2013
01:14 PM ET
2 years ago

Kasich embrace of Obamacare program angers some conservatives

(CNN) – By accepting the provision included in President Barack Obama's health care law expanding federal Medicaid funding, Ohio Gov. John Kasich joined four fellow Republican governors in welcoming part of a program their party has campaigned vehemently against.

He also drew the ire of some Republican activists, who had viewed him as a model of small government conservatism and a potential candidate for the 2016 presidential nomination.

"Increasing the number of Ohioans on the rolls of Medicaid is not real health care reform and will ultimately trap Ohioans in a system that badly needs patient-centered reform," Seth Morgan, Ohio policy director of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, explained in a statement. "We look forward to engaging with Ohio's policy makers to limit the reach of government into Ohioans' lives and pocketbooks."

Philip Klein, an editorial writer at the right-leaning Washington Examiner, called Kasich's decision "a huge victory for the White House that will provide cover for more Republican governors to do the same."

Kasich isn't the first Republican to sign on to the Obamacare provision – he joins Jan Brewer of Arizona, Brian Sandoval of Nevada, Susana Martinez of New Mexico, and Jack Dalrymple of North Dakota in endorsing the Medicaid expansion. In total, 19 states and the District of Columbia will accept the expanded federal funds.

Other Republican governors – including some who are considered potential 2016 presidential candidates – have rejected the measure, including Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Rick Perry in Texas. Ten states in total have said no.

Governors Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia, also potential presidential candidates, have yet to detail their plans on the Medicaid expansion.

Kasich announced the move Monday during a budget presentation, saying the rule expanding Medicaid coverage to adults with annual incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level would bring Ohio taxpayers' dollars back to the state.

"This makes great sense for the state of Ohio, and will allow us to deliver care using our dollars," he said, estimating that $13 billion would return to Ohio to allow unemployed or poor people to receive consistent health care.

The core of Obama's health care law, which was upheld last summer by the Supreme Court, is the individual mandate requiring citizens to obtain health insurance. But the court also upheld the provision expanding Medicaid coverage to include all adults with annual incomes at or below 133% of the federal poverty level, which is currently $14,404 for an individual.

The federal government will pick up the total cost of the expensive expansion for the first three years, after which the funding will phase down to 90%.

The expansion could reduce the number of uninsured adults with incomes under 133% of poverty by more than 11 million by 2019, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation estimate.
In their ruling, however, the court said that states can opt out of the Medicaid expansion program. The justices said the federal government can't penalize those states by withholding all Medicaid funding, but that they wouldn't receive the additional Medicaid money to cover newly eligible enrollees.

In his presentation Monday, Kasich made clear he wasn't a supporter of Obamacare and didn't believe in the individual mandate, but that by refusing the additional Medicaid dollars his state would set itself up for "financial chaos," since rural hospitals will soon no longer be reimbursed for treating uninsured patients.

He also cited the ability of the Medicaid expansion to strengthen the safety net for mentally ill people and addicts, saying it provided an "opportunity to rebuild that safety net so that we don't find mentally ill in jail because they receive no care."

"That's not acceptable in big state like Ohio," he said.

CNN's Tami Luhby contributed to this report.


Filed under: John Kasich • Medicaid
soundoff (25 Responses)
  1. The Real Tom Paine

    His approval ratings have never topped 50%, and he knows he will lose if he does not do something. I doubt he cares one iota about rural healthcare, but he does care about having a legacy other than being a one-termer . In other words, its ego, ego, ego.....

    February 5, 2013 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  2. rs

    Heaven forbid! Kasich put the needs of the people of his state ahead of Republican Obstructionism! No wonder they're angry with him!
    Reality intervenes again.

    February 5, 2013 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. ritmocojo

    Now he too will be eaten by his own.

    February 5, 2013 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  4. Rudy NYC

    "Increasing the number of Ohioans on the rolls of Medicaid is not real health care reform and will ultimately trap Ohioans in a system that badly needs patient-centered reform," Seth Morgan, Ohio policy director of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, explained in a statement. "We look forward to engaging with Ohio's policy makers to limit the reach of government into Ohioans' lives and pocketbooks."
    -------------------------
    Wow. Don't some of these right wing people stop to actually listen to what they're saying? Read it. His mention of Medicaid is pure hypebole, but the message is frightening. He says that providing people with medical care is reaching to far inot people's lives pocketbooks.

    The "pocketbooks" parting shot totally contradicts how he began by complaining about too much Medicare spending. I also notice that he does not provide an alternative solution, so it's obvous that his solution is the newest mantra, "You're on your own." Boy, would that make a good theme for a TV ad.

    February 5, 2013 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  5. Pete

    Ohio Gov.Kasich has no choice because if he doesn't accept the ACA bill as a state health insurance policy he'll be responsible for most of his states Medicaid,that's the trade off and extremist republican governors nationwide are feeling the pinch..They tried railing against it till their state budget directors told them different saying it'll break their states budgets if they do otherwise...It'll need polishing and some tuning but in the long run it'll be as sucessful as Medicare is which when LBJ created it along side democrates in the "60's which was also railed against by republicans calling it a national welfare program that now has almost a 98% insurance membership involvement amongst seniors,the only safety net for senior healthcare..Republicans have never been for helping people government wise and its historic since before Hoover,so check out my facts and come back if you find anything that can help republicans in defense in this matter,you won't !!

    February 5, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. Sniffit

    Bwahaha....methinks someone hoes he can still manage to get re-elected after the BS he pulled with union busting and attempts to suppress minority voter turnout.

    February 5, 2013 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  7. Cam Spurgeon

    Gees one with some sense of what is right for Ohio rather than the GOP. I didn't think he had it in him.

    February 5, 2013 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  8. Sniffit

    ""Increasing the number of Ohioans on the rolls of Medicaid is not real health care reform and will ultimately trap Ohioans in a system that badly needs patient-centered reform," Seth Morgan, Ohio policy director of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, explained in a statement. "We look forward to engaging with Ohio's policy makers to limit the reach of government into Ohioans' lives and pocketbooks.""

    Translation; "You big poopypants! We need to destroy Medicaid in OH in hopes that it forces all those minority voters...who we universally believe are the only people on Medicair....to move to bluer states and here you are strengthening it? Dude...we're totally going to have to work double-time to re-gerrymander our districting and/or screw with the electoral college now."

    February 5, 2013 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  9. Bill, NY

    It seems his brother/sister republicans would continue to embrace a system whereby the uninsured flock to emergency rooms a around $1,000 a pop to the tax payer versus having the insured flock to clinics and doctor's offices at around $20 co-payment costing the tax payer about $80-100 a pop. Do these people own stock in insurance companies?

    February 5, 2013 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  10. Facts don't Lie

    HOW DARE YOU agree with Obama on ANYTHING??? How in the world is the right wing going to pass it's agenda over this socialist president if they have some of their own side with them?

    February 5, 2013 01:47 pm at 1:47 pm |
  11. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    Other Republican governors – including some who are considered potential 2016 presidential candidates – have rejected the measure, including Bobby Jindal in Louisiana and Rick Perry in Texas. Ten states in total have said no.
    ------------------
    Interesting pair of names there at the end. "Stupid Party" and "Oops" They both want to deny health care coverage to the lowest income people in their states. I only mention this because they are both openly recruiting people to move to their states. :LA and TX are perhaps two of the worst states to live in when it comes a wide range of factors: lowest incomes, lowest HS grades and graduation rates, most polluted waters, land and seas. And now, you can add one more "worst" feather to their caps, worst health care.

    February 5, 2013 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  12. Sniffit

    "HOW DARE YOU agree with Obama on ANYTHING?"

    He's not agreeing with Obama. He's swallowing the crow sandwich the polling data served him.

    February 5, 2013 01:55 pm at 1:55 pm |
  13. Larry L

    Republicans have from the beginning been perplexed about Obamacare. It is a Republican concept that worked well for their Presidential candidate. Still, even though they offered absolutely nothing to fix the healthcare crisis, they invented objections to obstruct progress and attampt to discredit the President. Their objections weakened the plan but they still have nothing to offer but gifts to the insurance industry and HMOs. The Party of "No Ideas".

    February 5, 2013 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  14. T

    .......WELL, this is new.....a GOP who READ THE BILL and sees how much GOOD it will bring Ohioans.............even as they scream all the way.

    February 5, 2013 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. chilly g

    governor do what is best for your state not what other think you should do for the GOP.

    February 5, 2013 02:11 pm at 2:11 pm |
  16. Patriot Awesome

    Looks like a Republican pulled out a calculator and actually did some math for a change.

    February 5, 2013 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  17. Middle O' the Road

    If he wants to remain the gov of ohio, he knows he has to move toward the middle.

    February 5, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  18. NotFooledByDistractions

    Ah....the rats are abandoning the sinking ship. Love it.

    February 5, 2013 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  19. The Real Tom Paine

    Lets see...TX does not want the Medicare dollars, presumably because Governor Oops can't use it to balance his budget retroactively, like he did with the stim money. LA received a failing grade recently in post-high school student acheivement, to add to all the other management failures Jindall and the GOP have presided over at the state level. Lost causes, all.

    February 5, 2013 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  20. Rudy NYC

    Don't forget folks the quote this man made after Ohioans voted down his anti-union laws on a referendum. Gov. Kasich had said, "It was too soon." To me, "too soon" means I have not gien up and fully plan on brining it back at some future date.

    February 5, 2013 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  21. nothing new here

    More Republicans eating their own.
    Only the extreme right-wing should apply for membership.

    February 5, 2013 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. Facts don't Lie

    expect to be called a RINO by Limbaugh and company, governor and you probably just blew a chance at getting a job on FoxNews too.

    February 5, 2013 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  23. CaliforniaBC

    "will ultimately trap Ohioans in a system that badly needs patient-centered reform,"

    I've heard a number of Republicans say this... "we need patient-centered care".But that RIGHT THERE shows they have not read the the Affordable Care Act. That, "patient-centered care", IS one of its primary focuses. It is seeking to change the paradigm away from a payment per treatment/test type of model to one that treats the WHOLE person. They are so radically against the reform that they don't stop to THINK how much of it they actually agree with.

    And it's also good to see some sanity wendging itself back into the Republican Party after so many years of rampant nutjobery.

    February 5, 2013 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  24. nothing new here

    The Real Tom Paine

    Lets see...TX does not want the Medicare dollars, presumably because Governor Oops can't use it to balance his budget retroactively, like he did with the stim money. LA received a failing grade recently in post-high school student acheivement, to add to all the other management failures Jindall and the GOP have presided over at the state level. Lost causes, all.
    _______________
    Good point, I hadn't thought of that until I read your comment.
    Yes, politicians don't like $$$$...unless it comes with no strings attached, or lines their own pockets.

    February 5, 2013 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  25. much thunder.little rain

    the fringe left and right can howl at the moon...its about the hard working americans who need a break...from these far left wing and right lemmings...

    February 5, 2013 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |