Tags: Healthcare Reform | Kasich | Ohio | Obamacare

Gov. John Kasich: I Support Medicaid Expansion, Not Obamacare

Gov. John Kasich: I Support Medicaid Expansion, Not Obamacare
Ohio Gov. John Kasich, R-Ohio. (J.D. Pooley/Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:56 AM

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who went around his party's Republican-controlled legislature to enact Medicaid expansions in the state last year, says he doesn't see the expansion as "really connected to Obamacare," which he does not support.

The difference has led to a tiff between the governor, who is being mentioned as a potential 2016 presidential contender and The Associated Press, reports Politico, after the news provider reported Kasich had said Republicans would not repeal Obamacare if they take over the Senate.

Kasich, who is seeking re-election in two weeks, maintains he was talking specifically about Medicaid, not the entire Affordable Care Act, but the AP and its writer, Julie Carr Smyth, insist they quoted the governor correctly.

According to a recording of the interview, provided by Kasich's office, the interview between Smyth and Kasich shifted quickly from the governor's efforts to renew Medicaid expansion to a further threat to his measure. And in the recording and a shorter transcript from the AP, reports Politico, the reporter does not mention Obamacare or other aspects of the law more broadly.

In the exchange, Smyth asked Kasich: “So, if the Republicans take the Senate, do you think you’ll have to work to, um, you’ll have to work advocating for it in Washington as well?”

Kasich then replied, "They’re not gonna repeal it.”

He then went on to say that “The opposition to it was really either political or ideological," reports The Washington Post. "I don’t think that holds water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people’s lives.”

On Tuesday, Kasich told The Post that he doesn't back Obamacare, he never has, and he wants it repealed.

"If the House and the Senate [are Republican-controlled] and we have a Republican president, Obamacare will be repealed flat out. Flat out. And it will be replaced.”

But he did admit he supports advanced insurance coverage plans, The Post reports.

“I support covering a population of people who are drug-addicted and mentally ill. I support eliminating pre-existing conditions,” said Kasich. “But that doesn’t have anything to do with my feeling and support to the ACA.”

AP Washington bureau chief Sally Buzbee told Politico the wire service is standing behind its reporting, and "accurately quoted Ohio Gov. John Kasich as predicting that repeal won’t happen and that helping poor people gain health coverage is more powerful than political or ideological opposition.”

The AP did update its story Monday night to clarify that Kasich was referring only to Medicaid expansion after the governor and his staff called to complain. But Buzbee said that the report was updated with new comments while not changing Kasich's original quote "because it was and remains accurate.“

But Kasich insists he was speaking about Medicaid, not the entire Affordable Care Act, and that he always separates the two.

“I do not support Obamacare,” he told Politico. “I have favored expanding Medicaid, but I don’t really see expanding Medicaid as really connected to Obamacare.”

But Medicaid is a key part of Obamacare, as more people have signed up for the program than for insurance through federal exchanges. Further, states like Ohio that expanded Medicaid ended up enrolling more people for healthcare coverage.

Many Republicans, though, like Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, want the entire ACA shut down, which would also mean ending expanded Medicaid coverage.

Kasich spokesman Rob Nichols said that the accuracy of the quote is not being disputed, but the context in which it was used is.

“For them to fail to acknowledge their error and instead claim we ‘clarified,’ makes it seem like we backpedaled on something when we didn’t,” said Nichols. “It’s frustrating that they weren’t big enough to acknowledge an innocent mistake and simply fix it.”

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich, who went around his party's Republican-controlled legislature to enact Medicaid expansions in the state last year, says he doesn't see the expansion as "really connected to Obamacare," which he does not support.
Kasich, Ohio, Obamacare
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2014-56-22
Wednesday, 22 October 2014 11:56 AM
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