By Jason Hart | Ohio Watchdog
Embrace Obamacare, or throw the mentally ill in prison. According to Ohio Gov. John Kasich, those are a state’s only options.
The Republican presidential hopeful said as much Wednesday during his unofficial campaign’s first visit to Iowa.
Kasich asked at a Des Moines event, “Do you think we should take schizophrenics and people who are bipolar who get in a scuffle because they hear voices or get confused? Do you think we should lock them up in prison?”
Audience members said “no,” and Kasich continued, “Well, I agree with you. So we brought a lot of our money back from Washington to begin to treat these people.”
Kasich seldom mentions Obamacare when defending his Obamacare Medicaid expansion, but that’s what his line about bringing “our money back from Washington” references.
Despite what Kasich says, Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion is paid for with new federal spending, not state dollars. It’s not exactly a popular policy with Republican voters in Iowa.
Republican respondents to a January poll of likely Iowa caucus-goers expressed overwhelming support for repealing Obamacare, with 80 percent favoring repeal and 45 percent listing repeal as one of their top priorities.
In an email to Ohio Watchdog, Americans for Prosperity-Iowa state director Drew Klein said his organization “has consistently taken a stance against Medicaid expansion.”
The limited-government advocacy group opposes Medicaid expansion “both on the spending front, and possibly more importantly because Medicaid is another poorly run program that doesn’t improve the lives of those it seeks to serve.”
Klein pointed to an Oregon study that found that Medicaid coverage had little impact on the health of the previously uninsured.
Preparing for a 2016 presidential run, Kasich routinely spins his Obamacare expansion as a program defined and paid for by the state of Ohio.
Earlier at Wednesday’s event in Des Moines, Kasich said, “When we do better, that gives us the opportunity to do things for other people. People that I have been saying live in the shadows.”
But Obamacare expansion doesn’t work that way. Kasich’s Medicaid expansion uses Obamacare eligibility rules and funding and is in no way a byproduct of Ohio’s economic growth.
The tab for Kasich’s Obamacare expansion topped $3.7 billion in its first 17 months — more than $1 billion more than Kasich projected, funded entirely by federal taxpayers.
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