Let me start by saying I think Ohio should have chosen to run our own health insurance exchange, one of the options under the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare). As we reported earlier this week, the AFA offers three options: a state-run exchange, a federally-run exchange or a hybrid model which lets the federal government set up the exchange but allows the state to maintain some control and cover some of the costs.
Governor Kasich chose to adopt the hybrid approach in Ohio – which is certainly better than an outright refusal to participate like some other Republican Governors (e.g. Rick Perry in Texas) chose to do. But if you read reports in the media or at right wing blogs you would incorrectly think Kasich was following Perry’s lead by totally rejecting an exchange in Ohio – and this is exactly what Kasich wants you to think.
Media Trackers writes “Kasich Officially Refuses to Implement Obamacare Exchange”
Townhall.com headlines their piece with “Ohio Gov. John Kasich: Yeah, We Won’t be Setting up ObamaCare Exchanges Either”
The Ohio Republican Party Claims “Kasich, Taylor Block Obamacare in Ohio”
Even the Buckeye Institute, which has recently gone from a principled, anti-tax, small-government think tank into a partisan cheerleader for anything and everything Republican, seems to have fallen for Kasich’s misleading statements on the issue. They write of Kasich’s decision that “rejecting the health insurance exchanges” provides the opportunity to “push forward on a better health reform agenda for Ohio.”
Again, Kasich didn’t “reject” the exchange or “officially refuse” to implement it, and he in no way “blocked” Obamacare in Ohio. He chose the hybrid model. Which is essentially a partnership between the state and the federal government.
It seems only one conservative – Doug Book at the Western Center for Journalism – has figured out what Kasich is really doing, and his headline pulled no punches:
John Kasich betrays conservatives, lies about “blocking ObamaCare” in Ohio
And while I disagree with Mr. Book on how, why and if state-run exchanges should be implemented, I do agree with him that Kasich is lying to his own party in order to win votes and raise money.
“Kasich hopes to convince Ohio conservatives and Tea Party activists that he remains committed to preventing ObamaCare taking over the healthcare industry in Ohio”, writes Mr. Book. “Yet at the same time his spokesman attempts to reassure Ohio business leaders that the state will ‘retain regulatory control’ over health insurance plans offered through a federally-operated exchange.”
Kasich “is selling-out Ohio residents” and “betraying their freedom”, says Book. ”For those who wonder why conservative voters stay home on Election Day, John Kasich’s behavior provides a classic answer.”
Again, I disagree with Book on a great many of his statements – the hybrid option is obviously a better choice than simply refusing to participate – but I give him credit for being what appears to be the only conservative voice willing to state the facts: Kasich is trying to deceive his base, who are still depressed and angry over the big Obama win, and he’s doing it, as the Dispatch reports, to raise money from the same people he’s trying to deceive.