By Jason Hart | Watchdog.org
Is Ohio Gov. John Kasich running a Republican presidential campaign or an Obamacare promotional tour?
It’s difficult to tell, because Kasich is still pitching billions in Obamacare Medicaid expansion spending — for working-age adults who aren’t disabled and don’t have kids — as common sense conservatism.
“While traveling to other states, the governor spends a lot of time being Obamacare’s chief lobbyist,” Tarren Bragdon, president and CEO of the free-market Foundation for Government Accountability, told Watchdog.org.
Montana lawmakers enacted Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion after Kasich slammed Republican critics during a January campaign stop, and Kasich repeated many of the same talking points in Georgia on Tuesday.
Georgia is one of 21 states saving federal taxpayers billions by rejecting Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion.
“When Governor Kasich brings his Washington talk to Georgia, conservatives are not impressed,” State Rep. Jason Spencer, one of the Georgia General Assembly’s foremost Obamacare opponents, told Watchdog.org.
Spencer said Kasich, who served in Congress from 1983-01, may be able to draw a crowd of political insiders but will have trouble connecting with primary voters.
“The conservative base in Georgia is not impressed with Medicaid expansion,” Spencer said. “We know that’s Obamacare, and Governor Kasich has a lot of work to do in Georgia.”
Although Kasich’s Obamacare expansion has already cost federal taxpayers over $3 billion, he keeps trying to thread a welfare spending needle he insists has nothing to do with Obamacare.
Ohio’s Obamacare expansion is paid for with “Ohio money” Kasich is “bringing back” to the state, he told the Fulton County Republican Party in Georgia on Tuesday.
While campaigning in South Carolina on Wednesday, Kasich told CNN host Jake Tapper the same during a contentious TV interview.
“The governor’s wrong,” Bragdon told Watchdog.org. “This isn’t money the people of Ohio have paid in taxes that he’s simply going back to Washington to retrieve.”
“Obamacare robs from the Medicare promise for Ohio seniors and those with disabilities to pay for Medicaid expansion,” Bragdon continued.
“Governor Kasich is going along with that by justifying $20 billion in Medicare cuts to Ohio seniors and folks with disabilities to fund a brand new welfare benefit to folks who have never gotten welfare benefits before.”
It’s not just Bragdon and Spencer who dispute Kasich’s take on paying for Obamacare expansion. Kasich’s claims have been refuted by the Congressional Research Service and the Congressional Budget Office.
CRS and CBO are nonpartisan agencies advising Congress on federal policy — and Kasich’s conflicting position isn’t even supported by Obamacare advocates in his own state.
The governor’s press secretary did not respond to a request for comment.
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