Ohio Gov. John Kasich used his time in the spotlight at Thursday’s Republican debate to promote Obamacare.
You may not have noticed, either because you tune Kasich out or because Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion isn’t a policy you’ve followed closely. But you can bet Obamacare advocates listened with rapt attention.
Fox News host Chris Wallace jokingly asked Kasich if he thinks — as his rhetoric suggests — Ted Cruz is going to Hell for opposing Obamacare. Cruz is just one of millions of Republicans who have been smeared by Kasich, but there’s no need to split hairs with Wallace here.
Watch and I’ll try to unwind Kasich’s spin:
I wouldn’t blame you for wondering if Kasich deserves the benefit of a doubt (Newt Gingrich still trusts his old pal, after all), but Kasich has been using variations of these same false talking points for three years.
Back in April 2013, I asked prominent Obamacare supporters about Kasich’s insistence Obamacare expansion would be paid for with “Ohio money.” Even they conceded Kasich was wrong.
Kasich’s dishonesty here is important for an obvious reason: this guy is running for president. It’s more important for the less obvious reason that Obamacare expansion fights are still raging in many states.
To sum up without getting too far into the weeds, Obamacare includes an optional expansion of Medicaid that’s supported by hospital lobbyists because it means billions in new federal welfare spending. It’s supported by Democrats for essentially the same reason.
Obamacare expansion transforms Medicaid — a program meant for pregnant women, the elderly, the disabled, and children — into a sweeping poverty trap for millions of working-age Americans with no kids and no disabilities.
Kasich is the poster boy for Obamacare expansion because he bypassed Ohio’s Republican legislature to implement it and gleefully bashes Republicans who oppose it.
The governor has poisoned debates over Obamacare expansion in neighboring states, paving the way for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence and new Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin to bail on their promises to fight Obamacare.
On the campaign trail, Kasich claims he’s against Obamacare while propping up one of Obamacare’s central pillars. Kasich has griped about heartless Obamacare expansion critics during stops in Iowa, South Dakota, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia, and Tennessee.
Kasich praised Obamacare in a January 20 speech to the New Hampshire House of Representatives; as New Hampshire conservatives try to roll back Obamacare expansion, Kasich travels the state saying Obamacare saves lives.
With Kasich’s help, last spring Democrat Montana Gov. Steve Bullock pressured Republicans lawmakers to surrender and enact Obamacare expansion after fighting the policy for years.
Republicans in Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and elsewhere have embraced Kasich’s pro-Obamacare spin, and newspapers in holdout states love pointing to Kasich as proof Obamacare expansion is pragmatic.
Mind you, Kasich’s Obamacare expansion has already cost $6.4 billion and enrolled more people than Kasich expected would sign up by 2020, but who cares about results when it feels so good to promise more people free stuff?
John Kasich isn’t likely to be in the presidential race much longer. But he’ll still be governor of Ohio, and he’ll still be helping Obamacare advocates grow government.