Kasich Draws Conservative Backlash in Ohio Over Obamacare

Tuesday, 05 Feb 2013 07:18 AM

By Todd Beamon

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The Republican governor of Ohio said on Monday that he will expand Medicaid broadly with millions in federal money — drawing the ire of conservatives who had hoped to stop Obamacare from taking effect on the state level.

“It’s definitely going to weaken him with the conservative base,” Chris Littleton, the Ohio director for American Majority Action, told Politico of Gov. John Kasich’s decision. “It’s not a good idea to expand your No. 1 budget item in the middle of this kind of instability.

“The conservative grass roots and average voters are not going to support this in any way, shape or form,” Littleton said.

Obamacare: Massive New Rules Revealed for 2013

Kasich, a longtime champion of smaller government, said he would expand Medicaid in the state. The turnabout even brought rare criticism from the state’s Tea Party Patriots groups, Politico reports.

“Medicaid is a broken, costly system that needs meaningful reform; expanding the system to include another 365,000 individuals is exactly the wrong policy for Ohio families,” Nicole Kaeding, state policy manager for Americans for Prosperity, told Politico.

“Instead of trapping families in a system that doesn’t work, Gov. Kasich should devote his efforts and activities to forcing Columbus and Washington to pass badly needed reforms.”

But Kasich, now among five Republican governors backing the Medicaid expansion, said the move would make more money available to spend on mental health and other services, Politico reports.

In addition, overall health insurance premiums would remain lower because fewer uninsured people would go to hospital emergency rooms for medical care.

Still, that’s not enough for Ted Stevenot, president of the Ohio Liberty Coalition.

“How can that be good for Ohio to have more people dependent on government?” Stevenot asked Politico. “How can it be good for us politically, economically? I just don’t see it.”

Obamacare: Massive New Rules Revealed for 2013

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