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Saturday, July 01, 2017

Governor Kasich should be our Republican president

Kasich says it’s a ‘bad idea’ to phase out Medicaid expansion

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) - Republican party zealots were determined to hire a party loyalist to be the 45th President of the United States, but it's a crying shame they didn't pay more attention to the qualifications of Ohio Governor John Kasich.  

If I were a registered Republican (oh, by the way, Kansas Secretary of State Kobach, who said, "Americans may even be unable to re-enter the US" - my party affiliation is already public information)- but I'm a Democrat, the man I would have supported is John Kasich, the Republican governor of Ohio. 

Of course, Governor Kasich was brutally overlooked in the 2016 Republican primaries.  In retrospect, this snub by the conservatives in the right wing of the GOP created a political quagmire, because now the party is so deep with extremists, that they will never in my lifetime be able to crawl out.  Unless, of course, Governor Kasich decides to attempt Presidential leadership, one more time.

Here's one reason why I would ask Governor Kasich to challenge the mentally incompetent Donald Trump.  It's because Governor Kasich cares about people. He has dedicated his life to public service and earned his chance to take his moral leadership to the highest levels of government.

Reported in Dayton Daily News:

Gov. Kasich vetoes plan to stop new Medicaid enrollment in Ohio- by staff writer Lynn Hulsey

Ohio Governor John Kasich signed the state budget late Friday (June 30),  but not before vetoing a controversial enrollment freeze for the state’s Medicaid expansion that he spearheaded in 2013.

The two-year $133 billion 2018-2019 budget was approved on party lines Wednesday in the Republican-dominated House and Senate.

Kasich’s move sets up a veto standoff with the Ohio General Assembly, dominated by fellow Republicans who ignored many of his key proposals in the executive budget he proposed earlier this year.

After the Senate added the Medicaid freeze to its proposed budget Kasich’s office said freezing enrollment under the Medicaid expansion could cause 500,000 Ohioans to lose coverage in the first 18 months after the ban went into effect on July 1, 2018. The “freeze could lock enrollees in poverty” and “likely would result in a legal challenge,” according to a memo released by the Governor’s Office of Health Transformation.

Kasich pushed for expanding Medicaid in Ohio under the Affordable Care Act and has spent much of the past week in Washington, D.C., protesting the Medicaid cuts in the U.S. Senate’s proposed health care bill.

Even if the legislature overrides his veto, the freeze cannot go into effect without the state first obtaining a federal waiver.
Kasich went around lawmakers in 2013 when he expanded the program that now extends coverage to about 725,500 Ohioans at a cost of more than $5 billion — the bulk of which is picked up by the federal government.

GOP lawmakers and conservatives say the rising costs of Medicaid are unsustainable. (MaineWriter- why is it the rising costs of waging wars aren't considered to be "unsustainable"?)

“We think especially on Medicaid there are some real strong efforts to try to address the real problems we have with that program, both on the fiscal side and from the standpoint of trying to improve the whole healthcare system,” said Greg Lawson, research fellow at the conservative Columbus think tank, Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions.

But Medicaid supporters say the freeze will do real harm to Ohioans.

“Passing the Medicaid expansion freeze and kicking people off of Medicaid is unacceptable, harmful, and cruel and unusual punishment,” said Rep. Emilia Strong Sykes, D-Akron.

House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton, and State Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering this week called for a veto of the Medicaid freeze.

“Ohioans need to be healthy in order to be productive in their day to day lives. Without the ability to afford doctor visits, hospital stays, nursing home care, home health care, and long term care costs, families will spiral into debt, illness and despair,” wrote Strahorn and three other top House Democrats in a letter urging Kasich to veto the bill.

“I will vote to sustain the veto,” said Lehner, who voted for the budget on Wednesday. “And I am not at all sure that the Senate has the votes to override.”

Earlier on Friday John Fortney, press secretary for Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Medina, said Obhof “runs the caucus democratically, with a lower case ‘d.’”

“Robust debate within the group is always encouraged. With that, Senator Lehner doesn’t speak for the caucus, but is entitled to her own opinion,” Fortney said.

On Friday Senate Democrats released a list of items they want Kasich to veto, including the freeze.

It is anticipated that state GOP lawmakers may attempt an override. The House has a meeting scheduled for Thursday and the Senate is expected to meet the week of July 10.

A three-fifths vote of each house is required to override a veto, so for the Senate that means 20 votes. The House would need 60 votes to reverse a Kasich veto.

Several local legislators said they would vote to override a veto of the freeze.

“To veto that language would be to perpetuate a program that is not affordable into the future,” said State Sen. William P. Coley, R-West Chester.

“I will vote to override the freeze,” said State Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton. “As far as any others I will have to see what all he vetoes before deciding them. I believe it is very important that we remind the governor that this is not his personal kingdom, but that the legislature is an important and equal part of the state government.”

State Rep. Kyle Koehler, R-Springfield, also said he would vote to override a veto of the Medicaid freeze.

Republicans in the General Assembly gained enough seats after the 2016 election to override a veto from Kasich. In fact, Republicans have the largest majority in the 50 years since the current number of legislative seats was set.

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