The Ohio Governor is not going quietly into the night.
This week, Republican Senators Bill Cassidy (LA) and Lindsey Graham (SC) introduced one final attempt to try and repeal Obamacare. President Trump supports the measure and has been defending it since its introduction just days ago. Since then, progressive Democrats like Richard Blumenthal (CT) have responded as they have with every repeal attempt; “This was one of the most cruel acts in history,” decried the Senator — his support for late term and partial birth abortion apparently not included. Jimmy Kimmel has gone on multiple rants recently about his own personal desire to force universal healthcare upon us all, with much criticism from many on the right, including Cassidy himself. However, Ohio Governor John Kasich (R) probably takes the cake for people who do not seem to understand the bill, but rather wants to oppose it to regain national attention after his horrible failure of a presidential campaign. He stated that “Republicans just don’t get it” and “this will hurt our most vulnerable.”
The bill that Kasich does not seem to understand would not hurt anybody, at least by a conservative standard. It is not the most free market solution to the problem. However, the bill repeals numerous taxes and regulations. It allows states to receive block grants to enact whatever healthcare they deem best for their people. Say California wants a single payer system, they can fund it with the federal block grants provided by the bill. Finally, the bill repeals the employer and individual healthcare mandates, which have burdened small businesses and people since its implementation. The bill does not allow people to buy insurance across state lines, a necessity for our market. However, Senator Rand Paul (R) of Kasich’s neighboring Kentucky has stated he is trying to work with Trump to interrupt and repeal a 1974 law that prohibited buying across state lines. In essence, the Graham-Cassidy bill is far from perfect, but it is at least a start towards the repeal of Obamacare.
So why does Kasich, a man who claimed to be a conservative against much of Obamacare, seem so hell-bent on stopping it from being repealed? Well, part of that is probably because Kasich accepted the Medicaid expansion, something that made him locally popular among many. Every single repeal bill thus far has included some form of halting of the expansion within a certain number of years. They would not cut the Medicaid expansions outright, just stop adding onto the expansion in a few years and eventually weaning the states off of it. Most conservatives support cutting some of these services along with regulations to allow a freer market solution to thrive. Kasich, however, has not supported that since Trump’s election.
This bill particularly contains measures that protect State’s rights of healthcare. This would conceivably allow every State to craft their own health plan that works best for them, aided by block grants from the federal government. If Kasich were staying true to his stated principles, he would at least recognize the bill as a start to stopping what Obamacare has forced upon people’s lives. He could craft a State Medicaid initiative with the program for Ohio so he does not have to rely on the federal government. However, he does not seem to be interested in doing that and seems to want the federal government to do his work for him.
“With his time as governor limited, Kasich is trying to regain a place on the national stage.”
Kasich seems incapable of being on the national stage without trashing Republican efforts, especially when those efforts are favorable towards Donald Trump and his presidency. Kasich was for repealing the mandates by any means necessary during his tenure as governor of Ohio. He was, that is, until Donald Trump won in November. Since then, he has opposed every measure to try and start to repeal Obamacare that Republicans have released. With much animus towards Trump from the vicious primary and general election, Kasich seems clouded in his judgement of controversial bills coming out of congress because he knows that Trump must sign them. Kasich knows he is a thorn in the side of Trump, being very popular in Ohio still.
When Trump announced he was repealing the Executive Order for DACA, Kasich almost immediately released a statement declaring Trump’s decision awful, and stated DREAMER’s would be allowed in Ohio. He seems to have missed Trump’s support for DACA being enacted into law for those non criminal DREAMER’s already here. Kasich also blindly chastised Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement. Kasich was previously against the agreement and supported deregulating the climate market. However, since Trump was the one to withdraw, he opposed it no matter what he claimed to believe.
With his time as governor limited, Kasich is trying to regain a place on the national stage. He does not want to leave the stage because the moment he does, he will be remembered as the guy who hung on too long in the 2016 primary. Opposing Trump gets Kasich attention due to his being governor of Ohio, a perennial swing state that helped give Trump his win. Just a few weeks ago, Kasich received attention once again for being a possible independent or primary challenge to Trump in 2020 with Colorado Governor and Democrat, John Hickenlooper. Kasich denied he and Hickenlooper were running as a ticket in 2020, however he has yet to categorically rule out a run.
Kasich seems to be planning something for his short term future after 2018. If he ran for president in 2020, I would not be surprised. He is trying to do anything he can to oppose Trump, much more than any other governor in the United States, save for possibly Jerry Brown (D-CA). From his criticism of the current Obamacare repeal bill to complaining at Trump for withdrawing from the Paris Accord, Kasich seems to have abandoned principle. Whatever policies he supported before fly out the window the moment Trump supports the same policy. This sets him up to oppose Trump in 2020 on major issues. The man whom I was so proud to vote for my first time voting in his landslide 2014 victory has become part of the opposition partly due to personal animus. John Kasich will not go away from the national stage and will not stop spearheading the opposition for the sake of being in opposition. So long as he feels he has support from the center, he will continue to try and get his voice heard throughout the country instead of focusing on Ohio.
Follow this author on Twitter: @SamDemands