By Jason Hart | Ohio Watchdog
Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s presidential campaign is finally official, but his support for Obamacare expansion remains unchanged.
Kasich resumed campaigning in New Hampshire on Tuesday after his formal announcement — and after spinning federal Obamacare spending as “Ohio money” in yet another Fox News interview.
“I get criticized because I took money, Ohio money from Washington to Ohio to treat the mentally ill, the drug-addicted and the working poor,” Kasich said at a Wednesday town hall meeting in the first 2016 primary state.
“The reason why I brought that money back — it’s called expanding Medicaid, let me just explain this to you,” Kasich continued before describing Obamacare expansion as a vital program for drug addicts and the mentally ill.
“And people are gonna criticize me for it, God bless ’em, but you know what? I’m really glad I did this, because there are people’s lives who’ve been saved as a result of it,” Kasich said.
Greg Moore, state director for Americans for Prosperity-New Hampshire, declined to comment on Kasich’s visit but said Obamacare expansion is bad policy.
“Putting people on Medicaid gives a false sense of security, because the quality standards of Medicaid are far below those of traditional health insurance,” Moore told Ohio Watchdog.
Worse, Moore said, is the “disincentive for people to work harder for fear of losing that benefit.”
“Providing a disincentive to people to achieve their full potential is a completely backwards public policy,” Moore said. Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion covers working-age adults with no kids and no disabilities.
“The argument that somehow growing government is a good idea because it involves federal dollars as opposed to state dollars” is “nonsense that most taxpayers see through in a heartbeat,” Moore added.
As director of public affairs and government relations in the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services from 2003-07, Moore has followed the state’s Medicaid program closely for over a decade.
Obamacare expansion in New Hampshire and other states is promoted, he said, by “special interests who work diligently to try to grow government if they think it might mean more money for them.”
Though Wednesday was the first time C-SPAN or any other outlet published footage of Kasich explicitly defending Medicaid expansion in New Hampshire, he’s spent a lot of time framing the issue during previous campaign stops.
“When a state becomes more prosperous, it’s almost like a mom and dad,” Kasich said April 18 at the New Hampshire Republican Leadership Summit. “When mom and dad do well, the kids do better.”
“In my state, as we’ve done better we have not ignored those who find themselves in harm’s way,” Kasich continued, specifically mentioning the drug-addicted, the mentally ill and the “working poor.”
Before that speech, Kasich alluded to Obamacare expansion’s benefits for drug addicts and the mentally ill at a March 24 Politics and Eggs Breakfast at Saint Anselm College in Manchester.
“I believe economic growth is a means to an end — and you know what we’ve done in Ohio? We have reached those people who have unfortunately lived in the shadows for far too long,” Kasich said.
“We brought some of our money back from Washington, we’ve been able to put more resources into our local communities,” Kasich added.
No matter how much Kasich wants New Hampshire voters to think otherwise, Obamacare expansion comes with no work requirements and isn’t designed to meet the needs of drug addicts or the mentally ill.
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