Gov. John Kasich was in Washington last week to attend Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu’s precedent setting address to a joint meeting of Congress, which curiously offered not one word on what he would do to keep Iran a non-nuclear nation if the multi-pronged, multi-nation plan being worked out by President Obama fails due to Mr. Netanyahou’s politically motivated , deal-scuttling address.
Taking every opportunity to schmooze with big buck donors to his party, like Las Vegas casino mogul Sheldon Adelson who was also in DC for the unhelpful and divisive talk, Gov. Kasich has devoted plenty of time to his un-announced but on-going campaign to be president in 2016. Ohio’s go-go CEO Apparently has time on his hands as he’s hit the road to deep red western and southern states to hold court on his transparently bogus crusade to gin up support for a federal balanced budget amendment [FBBA], that if it becomes real would cripple Ohio and the nation.
Even though his renewed effort to trigger a constitutional convention that experts say could result in truly harmful changes to the nation has little to no chance of happening in his lifetime, what is far more imminent is the better-than-average odds that the right-leaning U.S. Supreme Court could make a decision in June, based on court arguments being given today, that would literally disable millions of Americans, including hundreds of thousands of hard-working Ohioans, if five of the nine justices rule subsidies to states like Ohio that punted on setting up their own healthcare exchange market and let the federal government do it instead are unconstitutional.
Clueless In Columbus
When asked about what he would do if the high court rules the way he and virtually every other Republican in the nation hopes the ideologically polarized rules, based on their unmasked opposition to President Obama himself and nearly every program or policy on his agenda, the career politician for nearly four decades came up terribly short on what he would do to keep people insured should federal help evaporate overnight.
The governor and his second, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor, said it would cost Ohio too much money to set up its own exchange, so, being the fierce federal deficit hawks they are, they let the Obama Administration do it instead. When asked last month in South Carolina, an early primary state he visited to push his FBBA, he said he didn’t want to get ahead of what the justices might decide. “I have good people that work on this, we have chatted about this, if the court makes a decision that these exchanges get shut down then we’re going to have to figure something out in Ohio,” Kasich said, the AP reported.
A similar head-in-the-sand reply was given to OhioNewsBureau a few weeks ago, when House Speaker Clifford Rosenberger was asked what his Majority Caucus would do if the court leaves Obamacare enrollees out in the cold? Speaker Rosenberger answered with the now standard escape caveat of he wasn’t a judge, and therefore declined to say what Ohio should do, even though he and his lawmaker colleagues are now engaged in deliberations on Gov. Kasich’s $73.2 billion budget, the biggest in state history.
Democrats To Offer A Remedy
Other lawmakers are worrying about the future even if Republicans are not. “If we wait for the Supreme Court’s ruling, we’re going to find ourselves at a disadvantage,” State Rep. Michael Stinziano, a Columbus Democrat, told reporters, including the AP, Monday. Mr. Stinziano and other Democrats plan to introduce a bill this week to allow Ohio to create an exchange. Democratic State Rep. Nickie Antonio of Lakewood said, “We see it as a proactive response.”
One consumer group supporter of the federal subsidies believes there is no easy fix should residents lose their subsidies, especially with GOP officials in total control in Ohio, and in Washington, where a wiser Congress would pass a simple bill to remedy the catastrophe caused by a few words in the Patient Protection and Affordability Act of 2011. Cathy Levine said it is difficult to imagine the Democrats’ proposal passing the Ohio Legislature. “It’s really hard to see that being a short process, or even a process that could reach completion in this political environment,” Levine, co-chair of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage, said in a published report.
Kasich Has No Plan
Meanwhile, Gov. Kasich, who loves to brandish his short time as Chairman of the House Budget Committee in the late 1990s, is unable, as are all other Republicans then and now, to put forward any plan with a single detail in it about how they would correct the disaster that was America’s healthcare system before the ACA became law, and the Supreme Court upheld it as constitutional in mid-2012.
As a governor who likes to cherry pick his numbers on any given topic, it’s very sad, and maybe even a disqualifier for national leadership, that he remains clueless in Columbus on affordable access to healthcare that could mean the difference between living an dying. For those who make it a practice of planning ahead, like all the families Republicans like to align with when it suits their political designs, it could be very well be better to leave Mr. Kasich clueless in Columbus than clueless in the White House.
According to federal officials, about 234,500 Ohioans sought marketplace plans for this year, and about 84 percent qualified for an average tax credit of $247 per month.