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Ohio’s Republican governor promotes Obamacare while in South Dakota

By   /   January 21, 2015  /   News  /   No Comments

Part 1 of 19 in the series Kasich's Obamacare Roadshow

By Jason Hart | Watchdog.org

Ohio Gov. John Kasich promoted Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion while in South Dakota as part of a six-state Balanced Budget Amendment trip Tuesday.

After talking with state legislators about the importance of restraining federal spending, Kasich, a Republican, was asked why he expanded Medicaid under Obamacare in 2013. The Obamacare Medicaid expansion is funded with billions in new federal spending.

“Well, the first thing is that the money that we in Ohio send to Washington is not somebody’s money down there, it’s our money,” Kasich said. “John Roberts and the Supreme Court said that states could decide whether they wanted to expand Medicaid. Why have we done that?”

“Well, first of all, the first three years it’s 100 percent that we get from the federal government. Right now we don’t have to even do a match,” Kasich said of the Obamacare funding he had seconds earlier described as entirely Ohio money, moments after giving a speech about unsustainable federal spending.

As signed into law by President Obama, Obamacare required states to expand Medicaid to working-age, able-bodied adults with no dependent children. Kasich criticized the Obamacare expansion while running for governor in 2010, warning it would “stick states with large and unsustainable costs.”

The left-leaning Urban Institute has projected Kasich’s Obamacare expansion will cost federal taxpayers more than $50 billion through 2022.

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In 2012, the Supreme Court ruled it unconstitutional for Congress to force states to expand Medicaid by threatening to cut off all Medicaid funding. The only role Chief Justice John Roberts played in the Obamacare expansion was voting to let states opt out, and writing the Court’s decision in the case.

South Dakota is one of 23 states that haven’t implemented the Obamacare Medicaid expansion. As part of a trip paid for by nonprofit Balanced Budget Forever, Kasich is visiting four of the other holdouts — Wyoming, Montana, Idaho and Utah — this week.

During his Pierre, S.D., stop Tuesday, Kasich suggested refusing to expand Medicaid under Obamacare violates God’s will and is costing lives.

“Now, one of the interesting things about this is that people say, ‘That position is liberal.’ Well, I’ve been in the Republican Party for a long time, and a big chunk of the Republican Party is people of faith,” Kasich said.

“Now, if you ever read Matthew 25,” Kasich continued, “I think, ‘I wanna feed the hungry and clothe the naked,’ and I have to tell you — I read a horrible story in The Wall Street Journal on the weekend about people, one man in particular freezing to death over in Montana. And they’ve turned down about half a billion dollars of help, I’m told. That disturbs me.”

This is a variation on one of Kasich’s regular Obamacare talking points. The governor’s press secretary didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

“I’m an opponent of Obamacare,” Kasich assured South Dakota legislators after promoting Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion as necessary for drug addicts, the mentally ill and the working poor. Kasich’s own Department of Medicaid has estimated “about half” of Ohioans eligible under the Obamacare expansion are employed.

“You can do better with less money if you’re smart and innovative, which is what my people have done in Ohio,” Kasich told South Dakota legislators. In 2013 after Kasich unilaterally expanded Medicaid, he turned to the quasi-legislative Ohio Controlling Board to appropriate $2.5 billion in Obamacare money that will be exhausted by this July, if not sooner.

Part of 19 in the series Kasich's Obamacare Roadshow

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Jason was formerly a reporter for Watchdog.org