Kasich: Attempts to scrap Obamacare hurt GOP in Virginia

2017-11-12 | The Columbus Dispatch

Nov. 12--WASHINGTON -- Ohio Gov. John Kasich said congressional Republican efforts to scrap the 2010 health law known as Obamacare instead of trying to stabilize it may have been a reason Virginia Republicans last Tuesday lost the governor's race and control of the state house of delegates.

In an interview with Martha Raddatz aired Sunday on "ABC's This Week," Kasich sharply criticized Republicans who claimed if Congress had repealed Obamacare, the party would have performed better Tuesday.

"Well, I mean throwing 25 million Americans off of health care, who in the heck is thinking that's good?" Kasich said. "This is the one thing I don't understand where the Republicans are."

"Does Obamacare need reform?" Kasich asked. "Of course it needs reform," adding that he and other governors back a plan co-sponsored by Republican Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington aimed at stabilizing the federally subsidized individual insurance market.

"Do you know what it does?" Kasich said. "It reduces the deficit slightly and it takes no one off of health care and it stabilizes the market and they say that's not a good plan," referring to congressional Republicans.

"What is it they want?" Kasich asked.

Obamacare cut the number of Americans without health insurance or government-provided coverage by 40 percent. The law expanded eligibility for Medicaid -- the joint federal and state program which provides health care for the poor -- and provided federal subsidies to allow middle-income people to buy individual plans through marketplaces known as exchanges established by the states or federal government.

As governor, Kasich defied conservative lawmakers in Ohio and accepted hundreds of millions of Medicaid dollars help more than 700,000 low-income Ohioans receive health care.

But he refused to establish a state marketplace to allow middle-income people to buy federally subsidized individual policies. Instead, people in Ohio had to buy their policies through a marketplace established by the federal government.

When he ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, Kasich repeatedly defended his decision to expand Medicaid. But he also insisted, "I'm not for Obamacare, never have been."

Kasich also repeated his call for Alabama Senate Republican Roy Moore to "step aside" following a Washington Post story last week that Moore attempted to romance a 14-year-old girl in 1979 when he was a 32-year-old prosecutor in Alabama.

"It's just a matter of whether he ought to be the candidate, the standard bearer of the Republican Party," Kasich said. "I just think he shouldn't be."

Kasich also appeared on "CNN's State of the Union" Sunday.

jtorry@dispatch.com

@jacktorry1