Monday, August 03, 2015

Gov. Kasich has a $14 billion Obamacare problem

By Jason Hart | Ohio Watchdog

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s habit of telling voters “Ohio money” pays for his Obamacare Medicaid expansion is about to catch up to him.

To silence conservative critics, Kasich says Obamacare expansion is bringing $14 billion of Ohio money back to Ohio from the federal government.

But that’s not how the expansion works — a fact Kasich’s opponents in a crowded Republican presidential primary are certain to point out.

There is no vault of “Ohio money” set aside to pay for Kasich’s Obamacare expansion, which has already increased federal welfare spending by $4 billion.

Matt Mayer, president of free-market think tank Opportunity Ohio, expects the governor’s message to fall apart when it’s challenged by other presidential candidates.

In an email to Ohio Watchdog, Mayer said Kasich’s presidential platform relies on a misrepresentation of how Obamacare expansion is paid for.

“Kasich’s balanced state budget and false claim of ‘getting Ohio money back’ to extend Medicaid depend entirely on robbing the taxpayer Peters of tomorrow with federal deficit spending to pay the Obamacare Pauls of today,” Mayer said.

“Without the federal funny money that increases America’s national debt, John Kasich’s ‘Ohio miracle’ utterly collapses,” Mayer added.

Defending Obamacare expansion as a way to reclaim Ohio money from the feds has worked for Kasich so far, as his poll numbers have jumped following his official July 21 campaign announcement.

That’s likely to change in the near future, since Kasich is competing for attention with Obamacare expansion foes that include former Florida governor Jeb Bush and former Texas governor Rick Perry.

Where did Kasich get the idea his Obamacare expansion would be paid for with Ohio money and not new federal spending? He made it up.

In 2013, the Kasich administration told state legislators Medicaid expansion was necessary to “keep $2.4 billion in Ohioans’ federal tax dollars in Ohio ($13 billion over seven years).”

Health policy experts from inside and outside Ohio explained to lawmakers this was inaccurate. Even Obamacare expansion supporters conceded Kasich was wrong.

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