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FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR

Kasich Appointee Scolds Opponents of Ohio Medicaid Expansion

Editorial fails to note author's relationship to the governor

Ohio Right to Life president Michael Gonidakis belittled the Ohio Liberty Coalition (OLC) and every other conservative group in the state in a February 27 Columbus Dispatch editorial promoting Governor John Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid. Gonidakis, who Kasich appointed to the State Medical Board of Ohio just four months ago, parroted the Republican governor’s progressive talking points for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) Medicaid expansion.

“Memo to tea party leadership: Average Ohioans, like average Americans, decided as long as 15 years ago that it is intolerable in a country as wealthy as ours for people, even poor people, to not have medical coverage and regular care,” Gonidakis wrote.

At publication, the national debt exceeds $16.5 trillion. Entitlement spending alone is expected to equal America’s average historic tax revenues by 2045.

“That is why you are so out of step with Ohioans when you oppose Gov. John Kasich’s common-sense plan to take advantage of 100 percent federally paid Medicaid coverage for an estimated 275,000 poor, and in many cases sick, Ohioans, an estimated 75 percent of whom are working,” Gonidakis continued, in a column shot through with surrender to a larger, more indebted central government.

Ohioans voted to approve the Ohio Healthcare Freedom Amendment, which was written specifically to block PPACA, by a 66-34 landslide in November 2011.

Ohio Right to Life is the only conservative group supporting “Gov. John Kasich’s common-sense plan,” which would add billions to the federal government’s annual deficits by dramatically expanding a fraud-ridden, ineffective program. Nonetheless, Kasich, the hospital lobby, lobbyists for socialized medicine, and liberal journalists have presented the Ohio Right to Life endorsement as proof there is no fair-minded opposition to the PPACA Medicaid expansion.

Not mentioned in Gonidakis’s February 27 opinion piece is the fact that Kasich appointed Gonidakis to a five-year term on the State Medical Board on October 29, 2012.

“As a Republican, I don’t like Obamacare any better than you do,” Gonidakis wrote in his editorial promoting a central component of the president’s 2010 health law. “Like you, I worked to defeat Obama last fall. But we didn’t win. And we can’t let the philosophical opposition of the last election cause us to make a serious error in business judgment now.”

As Media Trackers and countless other conservative outlets have reported, PPACA was designed to increase the federal government’s control over the health care industry by pushing more citizens into Medicaid, with cuts to hospital reimbursements for charity care added in to put care providers firmly on the side of bigger government.

Rather than reject the PPACA Medicaid expansion and work to develop a real solution as 13 other Republican governors have done, Kasich opted to pursue the new federal funds – and has falsely assured the Ohio General Assembly that Ohio’s funding will go to other states should Ohio refuse to expand Medicaid.

Gonidakis opined, “Kasich has wisely put practicality at the forefront and proposed voluntarily taking the federal offer to expand Medicaid coverage, thus rebalancing the equation. Make no mistake, the failure to regain this balance will cause our major hospitals severe financial distress, weakening all of our health care.”

Gonidakis then attempted to further marginalize OLC, asking, “Do tea party leaders really want to say ‘To hell with these fellow Ohioans’? Are you so bound up in ideology that you are willing to sacrifice the health of neighbors to that ideology, based on funding concerns that may or may not happen in five years?”

Washington has run annual deficits in excess of $1 trillion every year President Obama has been in office, and studies have shown Medicaid patients often receive worse care than patients with no insurance.

Medicaid expansion is opposed by the state treasurer, both of Ohio’s free market think tanks, and practically every right-of-center health policy expert in DC, but Kasich himself has also sought to paint opponents as a callous and uninformed fringe. Even before publishing an editorial from a Kasich appointee without identifying him as such, the Dispatch had aided this effort through senior editor Joe Hallett’s two most recent Sunday editorials.

In closing, Gonidakis wrote that Kasich’s push for the PPACA Medicaid expansion “describes for me what compassionate conservatism is about. He deserves support for this initiative.”

This story originally appeared at Media Trackers Ohio.

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