Another GOP governor likes the Medicaid expansion
The Kansas City Star
Another conservative Republican governor, Ohio’s John Kasich, is getting in on the Medicaid expansion.
He joins the Republican governors of Arizona, New Mexico, North Dakota and Nevada in announcing he’ll accept federal money in order to raise Medicaid eligibility limits to 133 percent, as called for in the Affordable Care Act.
For those keeping score, 20 governors have announced they’ll participate in the expansion, though some, like Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, face a challenge from their legislatures. The rest of the states are either undecided or leaning one way or the other but not yet committed.
In reading this Associated Press account of Kasich’s announcement, I am struck by how much Kasich, a very conservative Republican, sounds like Nixon, a pretty conservative Democrat.
“I don’t believe in the individual mandate,” Kasich said. Neither did Nixon, when the mandate was a red-hot issue last year and deeply unpopular in Missouri.
“But I think that this makes great sense for the state of Ohio,” Kasich said of the Medicaid expansion. Nixon has said the same of Missouri.
Kasich also pointed out that if Ohio doesn’t expand Medicaid eligibility, federal taxes paid by Ohioans will go to expand Medicaid in other states, and businesses elsewhere will gain an advantage by creating a healthier workforce. Pretty much the same arguments made by Nixon.
Also, both Kasich and Nixon are proposing a safety valve, which would automatically lower Medicaid eligibility in states if the federal government reneges on its funding commitment.
Pick your takeaway from all of this: 1) Kasich, known as one of the nation’s must tight-fisted governors, isn’t as conservative as he’s billed to be, or 2) Nixon is a trendsetter or 3) Whatever your political bent, the Medicaid expansion makes sense.
The smart money is on Takeaway No. 3.