Kasich Gives Away the Game

Ohio Gov. John Kasich’s decision to go along with the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion in his state may or may not affect the handful of Republican governors who are on the fence about this issues. But it will certainly make the arguments of nay-sayers harder.

Kasich’s whole political stock in trade is being the ultimate conservative green eyeshade, chairing the House Budget Committee during the Gingrich years and serving as an inspiration to young would-be scalpel-wielders like Paul Ryan. So when Kasich adjudges the Medicaid expansion as a good fiscal deal for Ohio (as it is for all states), it will be difficult for other GOP governors–even those like Rich Scott who have been willing to just make numbers up–to claim otherwise.

Thus Kasich brings us closer to the day when those opposing the Medicaid expansion in their own states–notably southern governors like Perry and Jindal and Bryant and Bentley and Deal and Haley who are deliberately creating huge arbitrary gaps in health care coverage–are forced to stop hiding behind fiscal myths and just come out and admit they don’t want their citizens to benefit from Obamacare, full stop. They’d oppose the Medicaid expansion even if the feds were paying them many billions to implement it (instead of just picking up nearly all of the cost and generating additional savings for the states via lower uncompensated care costs). It would be nice to see them admit it, shameful as it might be.

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Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.