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Sunday, October 23, 2016

COLUMBUS, Ohio — It was the last thing the Rev. Tim Ahrens expected to do during a chat in his book-lined office at the historic First Congregational Church here: He expressed admiration for Governor John Kasich.

Ahrens is a progressive social activist whose house of worship has deep roots in the old Social Gospel movement. He has demonstrated and organized against Ohio’s conservative governor and, in 2011, even gave a kind of counter-State of the State message outside the Capitol while Kasich was presenting his plans inside.

Yet Kasich, a one-time scourge of labor unions who was a top lieutenant in Newt Gingrich’s revolution in the 1990s, has endeared himself to liberal and low-income Ohioans by insisting, loudly and incessantly, that his state participate in the Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. An unapologetic conservative is fighting the Tea Party and his own Republican legislature because he thinks the less-privileged people of Ohio deserve health coverage.

Thus Ahrens’ surprising confession last week, offered with a rueful smile: “One of the things I admire about John Kasich — yes, I did say ‘admire’ — is that if he connects to an individual who is hurting, he will respond.” And having responded on the Medicaid issue, Kasich has gone all in. “He has not wavered from that place,” says Ahrens, who chairs the Central Ohio Medicaid Expansion Coalition. “He has become a crusader. He will not let go of this.”

Kasich’s witness is important as an expression of his commitment to a form of evangelical Christianity that places a high priority on the poor. The governor told The Wall Street Journal last month of an encounter with a state legislator who disagreed with him on Medicaid. At Heaven’s door, Kasich preached, St. Peter is “probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor.”

Yet at a moment when the Beltway wing of the GOP is on the verge of shaking the economy to its foundations in an effort to block Obamacare, there’s also a political lesson to be drawn from Ohio and from other states where Republican governors have embraced the expansion of Medicaid that is a central component of the Affordable Care Act.

Just last week, Rick Snyder, Michigan’s Republican governor, signed a Medicaid expansion bill with an explanation that President Obama himself would endorse. “This is about the health of fellow Michiganders,” Snyder said. In Pennsylvania, Governor Tom Corbett once excoriated Obamacare but said he’d go along with a modified expansion. Another half-dozen Republican governors have also supported enlarging Medicaid, among them Chris Christie in New Jersey, Jan Brewer in Arizona and Susana Martinez in New Mexico.

  • Dominick Vila

    Trying to find solace in something irrelevant to the challenge we are facing is not going to help us. Several GOP Governors support ACA because it would help them offset their state budget deficits, which are the result of irresponsible tax breaks and spending on issues their constituents support.
    The truth is that ALL House Republicans – and two Democrats – voted to keep the government running…except for ACA. That’s the challenge we are facing, and neither distractions like this nor Congressional procedures that nobody understand will lessen the severity of that formidable challenge nor the perception that the ones that may shut down the government are those determined to preserve a new program that most Americans still reject.
    I support ACA, and I am convinced that it will be beneficial to us as a society, and to the business community as well. Unfortunately, an effective demonization campaign, ineffectively unchallenged by the administration, has convinced a plurality of Americans that something we should all embrace and support is evil, and that the most expensive and exclusionary medical system in the world is preferable to one that would solve many of our social problems.
    The only option at this point is to fight fire with fire. Instead of procedural delays and the typical blame game, Senate Democrats must find a way to put the ball back on the GOP court. How about passing a bill that includes all current programs AND ACA, plus a clause that requires raising the tax rates of individuals earning over $250K and families making over $300K? Something along those lines would force House Republicans to reject the Senate Bill and will give them no choice but to be responsible for a government shutdown or compromise with the Senate.

    • FT66

      No Dominick. Adding a clause for raising tax rates on the bill, will push straight to the shutdown of gov. Let republicans own the shutdown themselves without
      including Dems of which they might claim they were also involved as well. Folks are not stupid. They are fully aware if the shutdown happens, it will be republicans who caused it by rejecting funding of Obamacare. Remember folks are a bit confused of Obamacare but they are not supporting defunding it.

      • InsaniaFactusMirus

        “will push straight to the shutdown of gov.”

        Already debunked with the “sequestration” that is touted by Mr Obama.
        The world didn’t end, govt. still functions and all programs are funded… **
        Except extravagant expenditures (although, with Mr Obama
        ignoring his enumerated powers, that particular statement is in question…Syria comes to mind and the weapons supplied to al Qaeda, a designated enemy of the state, though the House controls the purse strings)
        ex: White House tours for school age children, golfing adventures and “vacations”…which I guess include a separate Presidential plane for the Presidential Pooch that we as citizens pay for with our taxes….

    • RSDrake

      When my son was in college and turned 22, I had to buy outside insurance that was more than my family policy. If the ACA were in place, I could have kept him on until age 26. That’s good for the consumer – bad for insurance companies hence their $14 million lobbying effort this year.

      The hospitals are lobbying hard to retain the government subsidies that they will lose because they won’t have all the uninsured pouring into the emergency rooms. A win for the taxpayer.

      The bottom line: The Republicans are for business, afraid that the ACA will work, and they despise Obama.

      • InsaniaFactusMirus

        “I had to buy outside insurance that was more than my family policy.”
        Would that be because he was an adult and able/expected to act accordingly? Responsibly as the adult he has become?

        • RSDrake

          Uh, he was in college and really didn’t have the income to buy insurance. Acting as an adult does not seem relevant.

          • Guest

            I reiterate, he is 22 years old… what does attendance at college have to do with this?

          • InvidiaAbsit AKA 800LbGorilla

            Then why did you have to buy insurance for him?

          • RSDrake

            I guess you’re not a parent

          • InvidiaAbsit AKA 800LbGorilla

            Um, what does that have to do with it? My parents didn’t buy it for me. I covered my own expenses when it was necessary. You’re trying to evoke a red herring.

          • BillP

            RS why try to rationalize with these people? If they couldn’t or wouldn’t do it for their children why should do it. That’s their philosophy and they can’t understand or tolerate anything different. Your point about ACA is valid and would save many families money by allowing them to insure their children while in college or graduate school.

          • RSDrake

            Bill, I lost my perspective. Stupidity is invincible. I will ignore such responses in the future. I have my computer set to flag them Error Code id10t. Thanks for the heads up. Bob

          • BillP

            Thanks for the laugh, I will set my computer to flag them too.

    • InsaniaFactusMirus

      “…requires raising the tax rates of individuals earning over $250K and families making over $300K?”
      The ACA was defined as a tax and you wish to place an additional tax on citizens income that they earned? …translated: It’s his money, he worked for it.
      Why would you want to take his/my money and give it to an entity that doesn’t have a stellar record of accountability?
      Or are you stating that what’s yours is yours and what’s mine is yours?

      • Dominick Vila

        The poor and under insured are not denied EMERGENCY care, which everyone can get at the closest Emergency Room, what they don’t have access to is PREVENTIVE medicine, which is often the difference between living and dying. Other aspects of ACA related to this issue include the end of the pre-existing clause, which denied tens of thousands of Americans the right to get the medical care we all deserve, the end of insurance caps, and a number of women wellness issues that are now available thanks to ACA.
        Since ACA has not yet been fully implemented or funded, it is disingenuous to claim it does not have a stellar record of accountability. In fact, the facets of ACA that have been implemented have benefited thousands of Americans, without impacting our medical system. If your allegation refers to the U.S. government at large, I would say that our military is second to none, that our intelligence agencies are superb, that NASA achieved what no other nation did in the history of humanity, that we have the best air control system in the world, and that Social Security and MEDICARE work a lot better than the for profit insurance companies you are trying to protect. We are fortunate to live in the USA, and we are lucky to have a government we don’t deserve. What is truly amazing is the determination and courage of thousands of civil servants who continue to do an exemplary job in spite of the constant criticisms and insults directed at them.

        • RSDrake

          So well stated …

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Beneath all of the GOP bull vitriol, rancor and militancy lies their dirtiest, deadliest secret: they need another tax cut. It has always been the singular, most obsessive addiction to creating a ruling class by forcing the lower and Middle income classes to take on the major burden of paying taxes. All you have to do to prove this is see how the wealthiest 1% are spending their money like there’s no tomorrow. Now..where did they get all that money? 4 tax cuts in 12 years. If this is the example of how cutting taxes on the wealthiest 1% who do not hire or create jobs because they view that as a deficit to their profits, it’s proof positive of how in just 12 years, too much wealth has been a direct link to those 4 tax cuts.

    If they only way the 1% can stay wealthy is to stop hiring,stop creating jobs, price gouging, buying and selling companies like Charmin and then spending it on the most ostentatious luxuries, all while they make the claim they worked “hard” for their money, more BS than this you can’t find in a cow pasture. Point, delegate, fire, downsize, outsource, lobby for government so small it’s a dictatorship and masses of Americans whose existence is to work to keep 1% rich is BS. How much “hard” labor does it take to price gouge or, to help yourselves to our tax subsidies in the billions? Sorry…but the old days of the good ole good ole porker bois network is over.

  • Health Insurance produces bad results. According to God’s law, “That which you sow, you shall reap” we must first get a medical problem; because our insurance
    payment is a seed we sow to get payment for a medical problem. The seed
    produces a medical problem. God says, Fear Not. Trust God, not man. Our freedom of religion means we do not need to get insurance. It is unconstitutional. Non-violent,
    non-cooperation settles it. Lift up truth by social media and stay in peace.

    • LotusJoan

      So you claim that because we have health insurance we get sick? How about all those people waiting in hospital ERs without health insurance do they just “think” they are sick with heart disease, diabetes, cancer? Your right if your religion says no health insurance, that is your right, affirmed under the ACA, but do not expect many Americans to join you in rejecting health care. What is constitutional is that you are entitled to act upon what appears to be crazy beliefs but you do not get to dictate to me.

    • disqus_9i6pUJ4xMT

      You must be a religious person who do not want any medicine to help a person. That is why parents are getting in trouble because they do not take their child to get a shot, or get medical care. Even though you put your trust in God to do the right thing, there is times that you need some help. Insurance is great to have, if something major comes up it will problable cover it. But you don’t loose your faith. And beside insurance will put less burden on religious organization to help the poor. To me the Republicans/tea party would like to see the poor, sick, disable and senior citizen to die.

    • Charlie McKenna

      UH HUH?????

    • charleo1

      My dear Ms. “Divine.” Or is it Sister Divine? With all due respect, nowhere
      in any scripture I’ve ever read does it say, if you buy health insurance you’re
      sowing a seed, and that produces the medical problem. The only seed I ever
      sowed that definitively caused a medical problem, also made me a father!
      And, wouldn’t you know it. No insurance! It’s true. But, really Ms. Divine,
      people get hurt, get sick, develop high blood pressure. Isn’t the mortal human
      condition we all share, the real reason we have medical problems? To say,
      “Our freedom of religion means we do not need to get insurance.” Well, I
      just don’t think that makes a lot of sense. The Nation’s hospitals are full of
      good, and devoted Christians, Jews, Hindus, Muslims, people of all faiths.
      And, the real problem is, not enough of them have insurance. So, one day,
      perhaps not to far into the future, those without the resources to pay may
      be turned out untreated. To needlessly suffer, maybe even die. I can’t believe
      a God so generous as to send His only Son to save us lowly souls. Would approve of such a thing.

  • ThomasBonsell

    There is no need for Columbus mayor Michael Coleman to describes himself as a “pro-business Democrat,” when Democratic administrations have always been better for business than GOP. “Pro-business Democrat” is a redundancy of terms

    For instance: every GOP administration since WWI has trashed the economy. Some more than once. Democrats trashing the economy have been almost as rare as Mensa meetings in John Kasich’s bathtub. Democrats preside over Dow Jones Industrials gaining an average of 13-14% annually while GOP manages but 6-7%. (Those 13-14% gains for Democrats were compiled before the spectacular gains under Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.

    Since the Great Depression every Democratic administration (except the FDR-Truman one) has added more new jobs than every GOP administration, The FDR-Truman 4-year span contained the end of WWII with a 60% reduction in government spending, much of the economy shutting down to switch from wartime production to peacetime production and about 10 million Americans losing their jobs by being discharged from the military and civilian support positions. Yet, that FDR-Truman episode created more new jobs than did all GOP administrations except for Ronald Reagan, and Reagan’s job creation was built on trillions of dollars of borrowed money. If not do those losing their jobs at the end of WWII, the FDR-Truman term would have been the best since FDR’s Great Depression successes.

    There are too many other details to mention, but Dems perform better than GOP on all of them.

  • alboy5

    The UCA Unaffordable Care Act full time poor will become part time poor and have to eat less frequently so freeloaders get free insurance.