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John Kasich, Compassionate Conservative?

Ohio governor veers further left in push for Medicaid expansion

Ohio Governor John Kasich has conflated government spending with personal charity in his arguments for Medicaid expansion, adopting one of the central pillars of progressive philosophy. Kasich’s portrayal of deeper debt and bigger government as the Christian path strongly resembles President George W. Bush’s talk of “compassionate conservatism,” which assented to progressive arguments that conservatism by itself is heartless.

“Well, I think it makes sense to bring this money home, and this money can provide health coverage for the poor – a great number of them who are working poor, individuals who make less than $15,415. $15,415 – they can’t afford healthcare,” Kasich said during his February 19 State of the State address. “What are we gonna do, leave ‘em out in the street? Walk away from them, when we have a chance to help them?”

This statement immediately followed false claims from Governor Kasich that Ohio’s promised Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion funding will go to other states if Ohio does not expand Medicaid, and that all federal Medicaid expansion funding would be “our money coming home to fix our problem.”

The governor asserted that by implementing a major piece of President Obama’s 2010 health law and accepting billions in new funding from a federal government already $16.5 trillion in debt, the Ohio General Assembly can help mentally ill and homeless Ohioans.

“Extending Medicaid benefits will help us on many levels, including the positive impact this decision can have on the mentally ill and the addicted,” Kasich said. “Some of them live under bridges. Some of them live on streets. Some of them are in our jails tonight.”

“One of the sheriffs that I was with the other day told a story of a man whose life had gone, really, pretty perfectly,” Kasich continued. “He got sick, started living in the woods. He’s now in the jail, and he wraps scriptures around his fingers to ward off evil. The sheriff told me, ‘he doesn’t belong in our jails.’”

Governor Kasich then introduced Christianity into his rationale for backing the PPACA Medicaid expansion and suggested a failure to expand Medicaid would be tantamount to ignoring “the least among us.”

“It’s a chance to rebuild the safety net that we’ve all wanted to since we dis– since we have released people from these mental hospitals. My personal faith and the lessons I’ve learned from the Good Book, they’re, like run my life. I mean, I’m serious. They’re very important to me – not just on Sunday, but just about every day. And I’ve gotta tell ya, I can’t look at the disabled, I can’t look at the poor, I can’t look at the mentally ill, I can’t look at the addicted and think we oughta ignore them.”

“For those that live in the shadows of life, those who are the least among us, I will not accept the fact that the most vulnerable in our state should be ignored. We can help them – and I want all of you to think about this.”

The governor added, “I respect the decision you’re all gonna make, I know it’s controversial, just please examine your conscience, keep an open mind, and I think we can work and get there – I sure hope so. We’re an administration that thinks no one should be left behind.”

In an email sent out by Kasich’s office on February 20, his administration shared quotes from health care industry lobbyists and far-left activists who celebrated the “compassion” displayed by Governor Kasich’s support for billions in new federal spending on a severely flawed entitlement program.

“We thank Governor Kasich for showing compassion for Ohio’s most vulnerable by proposing to extend health coverage to many of Ohio’s working poor families,” said Cathy Levine and Col Owens, co-chairs of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage. Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage is a campaign of the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio, a socialized medicine lobbying group the Kasich administration worked with when crafting its Medicaid expansion messaging.

“Governor John Kasich’s compassion for Ohio’s most vulnerable citizens is to be applauded,” said CareSource CEO Pamela Morris. “The Governor has courageously proposed a responsible extension of the Medicaid program in a way that safeguards Ohio taxpayers while extending basic health care coverage to many of Ohio’s working poor.”

“The governor made a smart, compassionate and gutsy decision to include Medicaid Expansion in his budget,” said Bill Faith, Executive Director of the Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio.

“Medicaid expansion is right for Ohio and we sincerely hope legislators will continue to listen to the broad spectrum of voices, from business leaders to clergy to physicians and health advocates, who support extending Medicaid,” said Ari Lipman, Lead Organizer for Greater Cleveland Congregations. Greater Cleveland Congregations is a progressive group created to co-opt churches for the cause of bigger government, and is an affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation created by notorious community organizer Saul Alinsky.

At publication, no Republican leaders of the Ohio House or Ohio Senate have come out in favor of Governor Kasich’s push for the PPACA Medicaid expansion.

This story originally appeared at Media Trackers Ohio.

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