[Rushtalk] Have cowardly Ohio Republicans surrendered to Obamacare?

Carl Spitzer {C Juno} cwsiv at juno.com
Tue May 29 09:55:21 MDT 2018


Have Ohio Republicans surrendered to Obamacare?
Jason HartPosted at 10:41 am on May 18, 2018

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Ohio Democrat and former Obama appointee Rich Cordray is running for
governor on friendly policy turf, with Republicans arguing over how
gently they should reform outgoing governor John Kasich’s Obamacare
Medicaid expansion.

Kasich, a Republican, made news last week by refusing to endorse
Republican nominee Mike DeWine, warning that DeWine could ruin the
massive federal handout that is the cornerstone of Kasich’s legacy.
DeWine, who has offered to request federal waivers to make Medicaid
expansion “sustainable and affordable” instead of committing to end the
program, was the most pro-Obamacare candidate in the Republican primary.

Cordray – trying to frame DeWine’s call for changes to a four-year-old
welfare program for able-bodied, working-age adults as an attack on the
poor – capitalized on Kasich’s remarks with a campaign video defending
Medicaid expansion and JobsOhio, Kasich’s secretive, publicly-funded job
creation agency.

“Governor Kasich recently said he’s worried about two issues, Medicaid
expansion and JobsOhio,” Cordray said. “So, this message is for Ohioans
who agree with Gov. Kasich: I am your candidate.”

“I will protect Gov. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion,” Cordray promised,
claiming that DeWine wants to end it.



Meet the new boss…

For all his protestations otherwise, it’s been obvious for five years
that Kasich supports Obamacare. By endorsing DeWine in February, Ohio
Republican Party leaders signaled that their attachment to the law’s new
Medicaid spending won’t end in January when Kasich hits his term limit.

Before DeWine became Ohio’s attorney general, he was one of the most
liberal Republicans in the U.S. Senate. Before the May 8 primary, DeWine
flooded the state with print and television ads labeling his opponent an
Obamacare supporter, yet during a June 2017 interview he said that
putting 700,000 Ohioans on Medicaid under Obamacare “has done a lot of
good.”

“We don’t want that to go away. That’s very important,” DeWine told
Toledo news channel WTOL less than a year ago, highlighting the benefits
drug addicts receive via Medicaid expansion. If DeWine continues to talk
tough about restraining Medicaid spending – which has skyrocketed under
Kasich – his WTOL interview will feature in every Cordray ad until
November.

Kasich gave Cordray another boost during a press conference this week,
saying he would vote for DeWine but again refusing to endorse the
Republican nominee without assurance that he’d keep Medicaid expansion
in place. “I want people who are mentally ill and drug addicted to get
what they need,” Kasich said.

Since he unilaterally expanded Medicaid in 2013, Kasich, like DeWine,
has made treatment for heroin and prescription opioid addiction the
chief justification for his decision. But the expansion took effect in
January 2014, and Ohio’s drug overdose death rate climbed by 59 percent
from 2014-16.

In 2016, fewer than four percent of Obamacare expansion enrollees were
diagnosed opioid abusers, and less than six percent of the program’s
$4.7 billion in costs were spent on addiction treatment. The Kasich
administration hasn’t released more recent addiction treatment data, and
both his Department of Medicaid and Office of Health Transformation have
failed to reply to public records requests.

If DeWine were to look beyond the rhetoric from hospital lobbyists and
their favorite governor, maybe he wouldn’t fight as ferociously as
Kasich has to keep Obamacare expansion place. Cordray, meanwhile, must
be thrilled that Kasich has smeared Obamacare critics as extremists
while he shifts ever further left on health policy, making it easy for
Democrats to do the same.

As governor, DeWine would have no power to implement the Medicaid block
grants he says he supports, but in 2016 Kasich ran on block-granting
Medicaid if elected president. The only specific change to Medicaid
expansion that DeWine is campaigning on is a work requirement the Kasich
administration has already asked the Trump administration to approve.

Although estimates of the work requirement’s impact vary, 200,000
enrollees could lose eligibility and there would still be more Ohioans
on the new welfare program than Kasich projected would sign up by 2020.
Five years ago, zero expansion enrollees were eligible for Medicaid.



Cleaning up Kasich’s mess

Instead of trying to tweak an Obamacare program that will cripple the
state’s ability to pay for education, infrastructure, public safety, and
health benefits for the truly needy, Ohio should freeze Medicaid
expansion sign-ups, said Nic Horton, research director for the
free-market Foundation for Government Accountability.

“The way to make sure Medicaid is sustainable for those that truly need
it is to move as many able-bodied adults out of the system as possible,
as quickly as possible,” Horton told Hot Air.

“Particularly under ObamaCare expansion, Medicaid has gotten off track
and become an open-ended entitlement for able-bodied adults who could
and should work,” Horton added. “Policymakers who are serious about
fixing the system should focus their efforts on providing a path out of
welfare for able-bodied adults.”

If a few more Ohio General Assembly members were willing to stand up to
Kasich, the Republican-supermajority legislature could have overridden
his veto of a Medicaid expansion freeze last year. Their proposal
included an exemption for addiction treatment, and current enrollees
could have remained on Medicaid until their income climbed above
Obamacare’s eligibility limit.

DeWine may be forced to choose between signing or vetoing a Medicaid
expansion freeze as governor. At least one candidate for speaker of the
scandal-wracked Ohio House wants to end the Obamacare expansion, and the
president of the Ohio Senate is open to another attempt at freezing
enrollment after Kasich leaves office.

One way or another, lawmakers will have to address the staggering cost
of Kasich’s Medicaid expansion: a total of $16.8 billion from 2014-17,
monthly spending averaging $456 million in 2017, and a state share of
$20 million per month and climbing.

That’s not to say Kasich has no answer for the cost of his new welfare
program doubling his projections… in January, his administration stopped
disclosing Obamacare expansion spending in its monthly reports.





https://hotair.com/archives/2018/05/18/ohio-republicans-surrendered-obamacare/

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