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Monday, October 24, 2016

While the left is focused on the Republican Party’s miserable post-shutdown poll numbers and the right is celebrating the flaws in, the biggest and brightest news for the future of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has come out of the nation’s most crucial swing state.

Ohio has become the 25th state to accept the ACA’s Medicaid expansion, which was made optional to the states in a 2012 Supreme Court ruling.

What is extraordinary about the Buckeye State’s acceptance of the program — which will allow residents earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level to receive subsidized health care — is how hard Governor John Kasich (R-OH) pushed for expansion, and how he did it.

Ohio’s Republican-dominated state legislature rejected Medicaid expansion three times earlier this year, after Kasich became one of about a half-dozen Republican governors who signaled he wanted his state to embrace the ACA provision. Instead of accepting defeat, the governor took the matter to the Controlling Board, an obscure entity that normally handles small budgetary matters. More than three dozen Republican legislators protested this move to circumvent the legislature.

The board voted 5-2 on Monday to accept $2.5 billion in federal funds for expansion to cover up to 275,000 Ohioans.

Kasich — who during the 1990s was the chairman of the House Budget Committee that produced the first balanced budget in decades — prepared his state for Monday’s vote by waging a public relations campaign for expansion that took two of the right’s most cherished symbols and used them to advance President Obama’s signature legislative achievement.

The governor continually invoked Ronald Reagan and “Christian compassion” as he argued for providing health insurance for the working poor. This further enraged right-wingers, who favor using the Gipper’s image to push lower taxes and Christian fundamentalism to push conservative stands on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage.

Republican governors in states like Ohio that President Obama won have a hard time turning down expansion for a simple reason: They’d like to keep their jobs.

It’s also a great deal for the states, with the federal government paying 100 percent of the coverage at the outset with that percentage tapering down to 90 percent by the end of the decade.  The federal government currently pays about 57 percent of the cost of Medicaid. States that reject the program will have to provide the tax revenue to pay for it anyway, without the coverage that should keep the working poor out of emergency rooms and drive down insurance rates for all residents.

Kasich’s use of the Controlling Board to accept Medicaid expansion may end up being found illegal. Regardless, the governor — a potential 2016 candidate — has put Republicans in his state in a position where they will now have to take a concrete benefit away from residents, instead of arguing against a vague promise.

This is a decision that will also likely impact the 2016 election. Now if a candidate argues for a full repeal of the Affordable Care Act, he or she will be calling for health insurance to be snatched back from more than 200,000 working Ohioans.

No Republican has ever been elected to the White House without winning Ohio.

Photo: KY Governor Beshear via Flickr

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Copyright 2013 The National Memo
  • 4sanity4all

    Governor Kasich is my hero- a Republican who does what is best for his people, even against popular opinion. I hope the voters thank him with their support.

    • omgamike

      He doesn’t give a tinker’s da** about the people. He does what he does only because he sees a benefit for it in himself. The people benefiting from his actions are an accidental side effect from his constantly trying to position himself for a future presidential bid.

    • Allan Richardson

      Considering the other things he has done “for” (or is it TO?) the majority of Ohio residents, this is not enough in itself to make him a hero. Maybe some turkey, lettuce, tomato and mayo would be enough to make him a hero.

  • William Donelson


  • Dominick Vila

    Approval of the Affordable Care Act rose from 42% in September to 46% in October, and the trend will continue as more and more people learn about its benefits. That is the reason the GOP is blowing the Federal website troubles out of proportion. The worst thing that could happen to them is for ACA to run smoothly, as it would expose them for the deceiving ideologues that they are.
    Let’s not forget that the Federal website is just one of several tools used to access the system for information and create accounts to benefit from it. The same could be done in person, via phone, or via the state ACA websites.
    The greatest irony is to hear Republicans, who have been demanding spending reductions and blaming the government for too much waste, saying that the department of Health and Human Services should have gotten the “A Team” – and most expensive team – involved in the development of the Federal website from its outset. What a bunch of hypocrites!

    • TheGorf

      A minor correction: The “greatest irony” was Boehner piously proclaiming that he and his right wingnuts were attempting to undo Obamacare because it did not provide for the general public (you know, “the American People”) what it provides for “business” and “business” should not be granted any advantage over “the American People”!

      This FROM A REPUBLICAN, the party that subsidizes Big Pharma, Big Oil, etc., etc. Wow!

      • Dominick Vila

        You are right. I guess they are consistent in making contradictory statements and shifting ideological positions to advance whatever the order of the day happens to be.

      • disqus_fsqeoY3FsG

        Did Boehner had his head in the sand when the Republican portion of the Supreme Court ruled that Corporations have a right to free speech (i.e. Citizens United), and 2012 Republican Candidate for President who said “Corporations are People too, my friend”. Based on the Republican party “business” is the American people.

    • rothgar

      Other interesting point that the President stressed in his recent comments on the challenges of the ACA roll-out were that for the 85% of Americans who get their Health insurance through their employers the parts of the law that most effect them – like no lifetime coverage caps and the ability of young people to stay on their parents plans until 26 are already in effect.

      My wife and I just got a message that our eldest was no longer eligible for health insurance under her plan because he just turned 26. He had been paying for his own via his employer for 2 plus years. Our youngest will probably stay on her/our plan because his employer doesn’t appear to be providing coverage.

      During the horrible economy in 2010 to 2013 my kids have started a total of 6 count-em 6 new jobs. My eldest about tripled his income in that time and my youngest is making good money as well. Both are well educated and white but the GOP/Right Wing would like you to think that no one anywhere was getting work in the aftermath of the meltdown.

      • rothgar

        One of my son’s jobs was with the Canadian company CGI that won the contract to program the ACA Health Exchange website. They are one (if not the) leading providers of Health Record Management Software in North America.

        The big problem surely is that because of the delays in starting and limited funding the masses are doing the Beta Testing for this system. However, from what I saw recently when I tried it, now that the surge has subsided a bit the system works reasonably well. Our state signup page and we are a willing participant was down when I tried but it was late night Sunday which is a common time for maintenance.

        • Allan Richardson

          I would be very surprised if it were LEGALLY possible to do any pre-rollout testing of ALL interfaces to other institutions, since some of those other institutions (such as the IRS) have been deliberately underfunded by Republicans for years, other ones may not have legal authority to set up test systems to contain manufactured test data, and other ones (red state Medicaid departments) may not have been willing to co-operate in pre-rollout testing (to help Obama succeed). If the administration did one thing wrong about the website, it was not explaining to the public BEFORE 10/1 that there may be some glitches that take a few weeks to fix. One of the REASONS for opening up the ordering web site three months before the new policies will take effect was surely to ALLOW for possible technical problems to be fixed before anyone DESPERATELY had to get signed up quickly. And remember, any policies being approved even today will not go into effect until January 1.

          • rothgar

            Very, very good point.

            One of the things that I am a bit concerned about is the point you made at the very end of your response. People are getting the impression they have coverage NOW when in fact they are covered starting on January 1. I am afraid this will cause other problems.

      • Bill

        The GOP has opposed every jobs program since the President was elected, they feel the only jobs that are important are their own.

        • rothgar

          Of course that might well be why they are Republicans.

    • Elisabeth Gordon

      If one could overdose on hypocrisy this country would be a better place….and, you can bet your bippy every o.d’ing Rethug would head straight for the ER.

      • Dominick Vila

        It would not surprise me if the most important reason so many Republicans oppose ACA is because Reagan’s ER socialist freebies will end the moment ACA is fully implemented. Republicans are not opposing the ACA because the concept designed by The Heritage foundation is flawed, but because they will have to pay modest insurance fees to get the care they need after a few decades of getting socialist freebies at ERs and, by so doing, contributing to the out of control hospital costs the insured pay for in the form of higher premiums.

        • Allan Richardson

          The majority of low income, low information voters would, if they had access to data instead of ideological propaganda, PREFER having insurance so that they could go to a doctor regularly, rather than waiting hours to see an ER doctor, and suffering embarrassment at having to be classified as “indigent.” This is true of the majority of hard working Americans; they are not the “moochers using the safety net as a hammock” that right wing propaganda asserts. Actually, the special interests that feed the propaganda TO low income, low information voters are afraid of their “minions” having health care. Especially psychiatric care, because with clearer think, they would change their votes.

          The ruling elite (NOT the “liberal elite” but the BIG BUSINESS elite) behave as in the following story: three men arrive late at a reception and head for the last appetizer plate on the table, which has 12 shrimp puffs. The CEO, acting before the others realize it, takes 11 of them, then turns to the non-union worker and tells him, “that UNION BOSS [actually a hard working union WORKER] wants to take your shrimp puff away from you.” The deflect the indignation of the victims of their legalized theft by getting one group of victims to blame the OTHER victims.

        • rothgar

          Truly I am with Mr. Richardson on this one. What is never pointed out is the time consuming nature of medicine. Personally, though completely insured I have been waiting on visiting my Doctor because I know I will get hammered because I refuse to take a statin at my age and size and I really have not had time to waste waiting in the doctors office.

          The people getting the freebies are places like Sears who keep their workers part time not people like my brother who was a new Sears AutoCenter employee when his appendix burst and then he had to spend 7 weeks in the hospital with it draining. I am sure he would have preferred the treatment of one of my colleagues who had his appendix scoped and was back to work in 2 weeks.

    • mandinka

      and the that same poll showed that most democrats smoke a minimum of 1 doobie a day

      • william jones

        Ya know what Dan M Ketter (aka mandinka) did to get a big fat government pen$ion and di$ability from the working taxpayers? He spent his active years in the Air Force as a manservant to a general, washed his car, caddied for him on the golf course, served him tea, etc. The only battle danno saw was on the base golf course between his general and an admiral. Didn’t even wear a military uniform, just civilian polo shirts and khaki pants. Ole fat Dan even tried to lounge around in the civil service after his retirement, but couldn’t get hired on (hehe!) Must have been overqualified for laziness in the “recreational services”

  • highpckts

    From Ohio here and don’t believe for a minute that Kasich did this for the “betterment” of the people of Ohio!! He has cut school funding, cut services like police, EM etc.! All so he can say he has a “slush fund” for rainy days while everyone else goes without basic services!!

  • ThomasBonsell

    “Kasich — who during the 1990s was the chairman of the House Budget Committee that produced the first balanced budget in decades,,,”

    Hold on, just a sec, Jason.

    Kasich may have been chairman of a House committee, but he had nothing to do with balancing the budget. Nothing. The House Budget Committee did not produce the first balanced budget in decades, as you claim.

    History goes like this. When Bill Clinton inherited a $290-billion deficit from George the Daddy Bush, Clinton’s first budget proposal was met with derision by all Republicans. He didn’t receive a single GOP vote in either chamber of Congress; and that included Kasich and all GOP member of the Budget Committee.

    This unified GOP opposition to all Clinton budget proposals continued unabated until…

    1987 when the deficit was $21,684 billion after years of steady reductions.

    The GOP Budget Committee, and Kasich, only jumped on the bandwagon AFTER the slow learners saw the direction the budget deficits were going, then tried to take credit for results EVERY REPUBLICAN IN CONGRESS had opposed throughout Clinton’s first term.

    Let’s not give credit to those ‘tards for something they all opposed.

  • mandinka

    And when the funding is pulled in 2016 all those states that have taken on the burden will rule the day as their deficits increase dramatically

  • nana4gj

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