Kasich: Side Deals Won’t Make Up For Funding Cuts In Senate Repeal Bill

Glen Stubbe/Star Tribune

Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) on Tuesday indicated that side deals offered to skeptics of the Senate’s Obamacare repeal bill from Republican leaders would not be enough to make up for the legislation’s funding cuts to the health care system, particularly to the Medicaid program.

During a joint press conference with Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper (D) in Washington, D.C., Kasich said that he told Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) that a “few billion” dollars for opioid addiction treatment in their state would be like “spitting in the ocean,” given the bill’s deep cuts to Medicaid.

The governor stressed that he sees the legislation’s main issue as a lack of resources.

“I think the bill is inadequate,” Kasich said at the National Press Club.

He said that while the Senate bill does have what he views as some good components, none of those improvements would help without sufficient funding. He said he was concerned about millions losing their health care coverage as a result of the bill, as well as the deep cuts to Medicaid and reduced funding for health insurance subsidies in the legislation.

“The problem is the resources have been significantly cut,” he said, noting that the Senate bill eliminates taxes imposed by Obamacare that provided more revenue for the health care system.

Kasich used the press conference to call on Democrats in the Senate to work with Republicans on a bill to fix issues with Obamacare.

“Today I would call on Democrat senators to hold a press conference and to state that they are willing to sit and work and constructively engage with Republicans in coming up with a sustainable solution,” he said. “If the Democrats don’t want to participate that way, shame on them, and they’re playing party politics over what’s good for our nation.”