Hundreds of Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion advocates rallied in front of the Ohio Statehouse on April 11, 2013, calling for the General Assembly to expand the entitlement program at an annual cost of billions in federal spending and hundreds of millions in state spending.
After years of failed "stimulus" bills, broken health reform promises, and trillion-dollar deficits from President Obama, the rally mirrored past events demanding the passage of PPACA itself.
A speaker in front of an AFL-CIO banner addresses the April 11 Ohio Medicaid expansion rally
The event, organized by the Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio) and other partners of Advocates for Ohio's Future, was billed as the "People! Not Politics" rally. Nothing says "apolitical" like a gathering of progressive activists, labor unions, and health industry lobbying groups demanding billions in new government spending.
On a rainy Thursday afternoon, attendance was surely less than organizers had hoped for - but what the People! Not Politics rally lacked in turnout, it made up for with empty propaganda.
After National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio President Bob Spada began the rally, attendees chanted, "Health care works! Health care works! Health care works!"
"It is a sin to not care for those who at times cannot care for themselves," Rev. Jawanza Colvin of community organizing group Greater Cleveland Congregations insisted during his invocation.
Between each speaker, Spada reminded attendees that House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Keith Faber have offices in the Statehouse, and led chants of "Mr. Speaker, Mr. President, HEALTH CARE WORKS!"
"Health care" may work, but does government-subsidized care? Does Medicaid? Evidence is mixed, at best, but the People! Not Politics rally was about asserting the moral superiority of big government, not about sharing facts.
"Because some legislators are choosing politics over people, Ohio is about to lose a one-time opportunity to provide health care to over 275,000 low-wage Ohioans," a UHCAN Ohio flyer for the event explained. "There is still time for the Ohio House to choose people over politics and extend healthcare coverage to low-wage Ohioans."
"If Ohio accepts federal dollars and extends health coverage to hundreds of thousands of Ohioans, we can save lives, strengthen Ohio's communities, and strengthen our economy," the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association - an affiliate of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) - announced in an alert notifying members of the rally.
AFSCME was a major national partner in the push for PPACA through 2009 and early 2010.
There was one key difference between rallies for the passage of President Obama's 2010 health law and the Ohio rally to implement its Medicaid expansion: in 2013, Governor John Kasich has stood firmly on the side of bigger government.
"Thank you, Governor Kasich," the crowd shouted across the street after Spada pointed out the governor's office is in the Riffe Building and not the Statehouse itself.
As Media Trackers has explained in depth, the Republican governor's arguments for the PPACA Medicaid expansion are a blend of flawed assumptions and false talking points, developed in partnership with socialized medicine lobbying group UHCAN Ohio.
Contrary to Kasich's claims, the federal government cannot afford Medicaid expansion, more than a quarter of Ohio doctors already reject new Medicaid patients, hospitals do not need more Medicaid funding nearly so badly as they insist, the state cannot expand the program temporarily or with some private alternative, and "Ohio's" Medicaid expansion funds will not go to other states if Ohio rejects the expansion.
That's not one or two, but six separate issues with the case for expanding Medicaid - and each has been ridiculed or utterly ignored by Ohio's legacy media. What happened to the concept of an independent press that investigates the claims of government officials bearing "free" handouts?
Although the details are complicated, the pivot point of the Ohio Medicaid expansion debate is incredibly simple. One side wants the Ohio General Assembly to expand the entitlement state by embracing a federal takeover of the health care industry. The other wants the Ohio General Assembly to reject the PPACA Medicaid expansion, preventing billions in new federal and state government spending.
It's no secret Ohio's newspapers believe bigger government is supported by "the good guys," even after the past several years have shined a spotlight on the folly of central planning. Why is that?
This story originally appeared at Media Trackers Ohio.