Pat Tiberi used to be John Kasich’s driver when the two-term lame duck governor was a congressman representing the 12th District Tiberi now represents. Kasich is destined to exit the political stage in two years, when he wanders off to speaking gigs or occasional pop ups on Fox News. Tiberi, who’s gained power in the new juiced up GOP congress, is rumored to be eyeing a run at two-term U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, but he’ll have to defeat battle-hardened State Treasurer Josh “Boots” Mandel in the 2018 primary to do that.
Speaking from overseas in Europe, Gov. Kasich says he won’t “sit silent” and watch the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion get “ripped out” as Republicans work to repeal the law, CNN reported. Ohio’s governor, who got thoroughly throttled last year when he tried for the second time in 16 years to run for president, wants President Barack Obama’s health care law to continue, especially the law’s expansion of Medicaid. Kasich’s concern is to not repeal the Medicaid expansion part without an alternative.
That position is at odds with what Tiberi wants to do, which is based on a Republicans blueprint for health care unveiled June 2016. Kasich didn’t slam his former driver, but that’s what he virtually said about the plan Republicans and Tiberi are pushing.
“That is a very, very bad idea, because we cannot turn our back on the most vulnerable,” Kasich said, as reported by Eric Brander of CNN. “We can give them the coverage, reform the program, save some money, and make sure that we live in a country where people are going to say, ‘at least somebody’s looking out for me.” According to Kasich, Medicaid expansion is “not a giveaway program — it’s one that addresses the basic needs of people in our country.”
As Chairman of the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, Mr. Tiberi says Obamacare is broken. To fix it, he want to “make sure people have more choices than they do today” in addition to making it “portable,” meaning “if you change jobs you can take your health care with you, just like you can take your auto insurance with you.”
Figuring out “how to do that rationally” will be Tiberi’s cross to bear, since the Affordable Care Act is historically a Republican plan, as constructed by the Heritage Foundation and implemented in Massachusetts by then Republican-Governor Mitt Romney. Kasich’s former driver wants to repeal and place “in [small pieces], so people can understand it.”
So while Gov. Kasich continues with his happy talk about cost savings and market dynamics with respect to the ACA, providing characteristically few details but lots of generalities, Rep. Tiberi has already signed onto the GOP plan that his former boss said is a “very, very bad idea.”
Who’s driving who these days?