John Kasich lies about Obamacare expansion

Ohio Gov. John Kasich seems set on lying about his Obamacare expansion to every voter in New Hampshire before the state’s primary election Tuesday.

Conservative Review has audio recorded at a New Hampshire town hall by Kimberly Morin, who caught Kasich admitting he circumvented the full Ohio General Assembly to expand Medicaid under Obamacare in 2013.

But it’s much worse than it appears at first glance.

I’ll transcribe the relevant quotes and include Morin’s recording at the end, for readers who don’t trust me and/or want to suffer through it themselves.

“The legislature didn’t wanna vote. If they’da had a vote, it’d have passed, but they didn’t wanna vote. Because they were afraid of primaries. ‘God, if I vote for this, they’ll take me out’ — right? So then we couldn’t get a vote,” Kasich said.

For this quote, I recommend listening to the audio to hear how disgustedly John Kasich spits out the word “primaries.”

What Kasich describes is a body of elected lawmakers working as intended: the legislature refused to enact a policy because they feared voters would respond by removing them from office.

When Kasich says, “we couldn’t get a vote,” he is lying. The Ohio General Assembly passed a budget in 2013 explicitly forbidding Obamacare expansion.

“The Governor vetoed a provision that would have prohibited the Medicaid
program from covering the expansion group,” the Ohio Legislative Service Commission explained in an analysis of the state budget for fiscal years 2014 and 2015.

The General Assembly did vote on Kasich’s Obamacare expansion: they voted against it. Kasich struck the legislature’s ban on Obamacare expansion using a line-item veto, and then his administration expanded Medicaid unilaterally.

After Kasich redefined Ohio’s Medicaid program to cover working-age adults with no kids and no disabilities, he turned to the quasi-legislative Ohio Controlling Board to get the resulting Obamacare funding appropriated.

“We have a Controlling Board and it’s made up of members of the legislature, appointed by the leadership,” Kasich told voters in New Hampshire. “And the leaders said, ‘We will pass it through the Controlling Board.’ Now I didn’t just do this on my own, young lady, I did it with the blessing of the leadership and we got it done.”

The Controlling Board exists to make minor appropriations consistent with the enacted policies of the General Assembly. Kasich used the Controlling Board to appropriate billions in new federal welfare spending after the General Assembly explicitly forbade the state from accepting said welfare spending.

The Controlling Board (which Kasich neglects to mention is chaired by an appointee of the governor’s office) approved the Kasich administration’s request after the Kasich administration threatened to bankrupt the entire Ohio Medicaid program if Obamacare expansion funding was not appropriated.

Six Republican members of the Ohio House sued over Kasich’s Controlling Board appropriation maneuver. They lost in a bizarre Ohio Supreme Court decision empowering Kasich and all future Ohio governors to override legislative intent.

“Now in this budget we did it again, without one single objection,” Kasich said in New Hampshire. This is also a lie.

In the Ohio House, Rep. John Becker, Rep. Nino Vitale, and Rep. Tom Brinkman voted against the state’s 2016–17 general operating budget specifically because it continued Kasich’s Obamacare expansion.

In the Ohio Senate, Sen. Kris Jordan voted against the state’s 2016–17 general operating budget specifically because it continued Kasich’s Obamacare expansion.

Other House Republicans — including Rep. Jim Butler, Rep. Kristina Roegner, and Rep. Ron Young — publicly voiced their continued opposition to Kasich’s Obamacare expansion but ultimately voted for the budget because they supported other provisions.

In fielding a question about why he circumvented the Ohio General Assembly for Obamacare expansion, Kasich lied to New Hampshire voters about how the process played out in 2013 and lied about how the process played out in 2015.

Add these lies about process to the governor’s lies about the policy itself, and nearly everything John Kasich says about Obamacare expansion is untrue.

No big deal, though! Obamacare expansion is only Kasich’s signature achievement as governor, and the worst policy implemented in Ohio since the ‘80s.