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Kasich Says Ohio Couldn't Fill Coverage Gap In Obamacare Overhaul


Ohio Governor John Kasich has been gaining national attention for criticizing the health care proposal coming from Congressional Republicans, especially when it comes to cutting Medicaid coverage. Kasich says there’s not much he and other state leaders could do if those cuts happen.

The health care overhaul proposed by Republican U.S. House leaders and backed by President Donald Trump would eventually terminate Medicaid expansion and change the way tax credits are doled out.

Kasich fears this means 700,000 Ohioans who currently have health insurance under an expanded Medicaid program would be left stranded.

To Kasich, the best path forward would be for Congressional Democrats and Republicans to come together with a compromise.

“With one party trying to jam these things through, you’re going to end up with a continued political fight and will not allow us to move to the next stage, which is to deal with the rising health care costs we see in this country,” Kasich said.

Kasich has been touting the way Ohio was able to take federal funding to expand coverage under Medicaid while still reigning in the costs.

Medicaid is by far the biggest chunk of the state budget, which is currently working its way through the legislature. Kasich says if Congress continues with its plan, the state of Ohio wouldn’t be able to make up the difference.

“You know we don’t have the money to make up, for example on the Medicaid side, potentially a billion and a half. We can’t do that -- it’s really expensive. So there’ll be a lot of people that will go without coverage and it won’t be good,” said Kasich.

A report from the Center for Community Solutions says if the current plan passes, Ohio could lose up to $26 billion in federal funding for Medicaid over the next six years, including as much as two billion dollars annually for Medicaid expansion alone.

Kasich points out that the plan would phase out Medicaid expansion by 2020. Other Republicans, such as Congressman Jim Jordan of western Ohio, are still pursuing an outright repeal of Obamacare and, with that, the repeal of Medicaid expansion.