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Friday, April 24, 2015

Gov. Kasich and Medicaid Expansion

In the wake of the passage by Representatives in Columbus of a two-year state budget that contains funding for Medicaid expansion, here’s part of a column from The Washington Examiner on Gov. Kasich and health care:
John Kasich should be punished for expanding Obamacare
By Philip Klein | April 23, 2015
Ohio Gov. John Kasich has made clear that he's seriously considering running for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination. If he formally announces, it will be important for conservative voters to punish him for his expansion of President Obama's healthcare law in his state.
Kasich is currently polling in the low single-digits, has no clear path to the nomination, and the grassroots aren't exactly clamoring for him to run. Yet he is being egged on by a group of Republicans who want to see the party move in a direction that's more comfortable with a larger role for government.
Though on the campaign trail he'll insist that he's a warrior for limited government, in reality not only did Kasich decide to participate in Obamacare's fiscally destructive expansion of Medicaid, in doing so he also displayed a toxic mix of cronyism, dishonesty and executive overreach.
A 2012 ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court made it easier for states to reject Obamacare's costly expansion of Medicaid — as many governors prudently chose to do.
But in February 2013, despite campaigning on opposition to Obamacare, Kasich crumbled under pressure from hospital lobbyists who supported the measure, and endorsed the expansion. When his legislature opposed him, Kasich bypassed lawmakers and imposed the expansion through a separate panel — an example of executive overreach worthy of Obama.
Kasich cloaked his cynical move in the language of Christianity, and, just like a liberal demagogue, he portrayed those with principled objections to spending more taxpayer money on a failing program as being heartless.
"Why is that some people don't get it?" Kasich asked rhetorically  at an October 2013 event at the Cleveland Clinic, which lobbied the administration heavily for the expansion so that it could access a stream of money from federal taxpayers. "Is it because they're hard-hearted or cold-hearted? It's probably because they don't understand the problem because they have never walked in somebody's shoes."
Kasich's defenses of his decision to expand Medicaid are built on a mountain of lies, which have been doggedly chronicled by Ohio native Jason Hart (currently with Watchdog.org) for the past two years.
One of Kasich's recurring defenses has been that he was simply making sure that money Ohio taxpayers sent to the federal government got returned to the state. That argument could theoretically pass muster if it were a situation in which money not spent by Ohio were automatically funneled to other states, as with the economic stimulus bill. But that isn't the situation with Medicaid expansion, the funding for which is only spent in states that agree to participate.
It's also worth noting that although the federal government picks up the full tab for the expansion in its first three years, starting in 2017, states will have to start pitching in and by 2020 will have to cover 10 percent of the costs. As it is, Medicaid is crippling state budgets and is everywhere among the largest state expenditures.
Kasich has also emphatically tried to claim that the expansion of Medicaid has nothing to do with Obamacare. This is ridiculous. The Medicaid expansion is one of the central parts of the law, which is why the administration is fighting so bitterly for states to adopt it. According to the latest estimate by the Congressional Budget Office, Obamacare spends $847 billion over the next decade on expanding Medicaid — representing roughly half of the expenditures in the law.
Read the rest here.

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