It’s not a new rule, but whether she likes it or not, and regardless of her claim that she’s her own person, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor’s burden going forward as she runs for governor next year is to carry Gov. John Kasich’s cross, hand hewn over eight years from policies and programs that ranged from merely misguided to brazenly bad.
Now that he’s endorsed her for his job, Kasich’s cross will naturally weigh heavy upon her like the burden Ohioans feel who face an uncertain, if not fearful future from tax cuts they didn’t benefit from, and healthcare benefits they do benefit from that Taylor wants to make all the harder to have.
Ohioans struggling for better wages, who still earn so little that they qualify for Medicaid because Kasich has done such a poor job of creating the quantity and quality of good-paying jobs, will only hear double-talk from Taylor, a certified public accountant.
Taylor, who worked two jobs as Ohio’s lieutenant governor and director of insurance, wants to reverse consumer protections in the Affordable Care Act so Buckeyes can pay less for junked-up plans.
Ohio is requesting President Donald Trump’s administration to approve a waiver in order to opt out of requirements that insurance companies cover essential health benefits like mental health coverage and addiction treatment or maternity care. Ohio leads the nation in opioid deaths, and has one of the highest infant mortality rates in the country. Taylor would join Washington Republicans who want to upend the healthcare apple cart and watch Ohioans tumble with it.
Taylor believes in the preposterous GOP narrative that people are different in each state, and therefore each state needs flexibility to tailor their own programs to their people. Team Kasich-Taylor has long argued, as social and fiscal conservative are wont to do, that people should be weaned from dependence on government safety net programs like Medicaid. Taylor, who Kasich tasked early on in 2011 with eliminating government regulations, says too many restraints exist.
“We don’t have the flexibility that we need to address individual needs of individuals, which, ultimately, is what we should strive for,” she said recently.
Taylor knows whereof she speaks on why the ACA and its exchanges are not working since she’s been a major sea anchor on it working properly from the day the Supreme Court ruled Obamacare’ s “individual mandate” requiring individuals to purchase healthcare insurance constitutional.
Team Kasich-Taylor could have set up Ohio’s own exchange marketplace, but it didn’t because the duo said the cost, estimated at $40 million, was too expensive. So they took the easy route, letting the Obama Administration do it, then carping and harping about how it should have been run.
Taylor’s political myopia forces her to see the ACA as a “one-size-fits-all approach out of Washington…not working in Ohio,” as she said recently. Kasich, meanwhile, has endeared even hard-core Democrats to him now that’s he’s found one topic, saving Medicaid, he can sound sensible on.
But even the great reformer himself, who appears on national TV shows to rail against the GOP bills in Congress, is quietly behind the request for waivers.
Meanwhile, Taylor wants Washington Republicans to repeal the ACA’s mandates so everyone only pays for just what they think they need at the time, never thinking their health circumstances could change in a Columbus minute. Junk health care insurance before Obamacare was widespread because it was affordable despite being a big ripoff when it came to actually using it.
Taylor should put her CPA talents to work to figure out how many millions or billions will be spent in downstream costs, that Ohio taxpayers will have to pay for when state flexibility gives Ohio’s GOP-controlled legislature the ability to filter out the needy based upon what they can afford to pay, which, for those eligible for Medicaid in the first place, isn’t much.
Yes, Taylor has been a devoted partner to Kasich, and because of that, she has to carry his cross as her own. Her opponents, including Attorney General Mike DeWine, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, and Secretary of State Jon Husted can and will distance themselves from Team Kasich-Taylor.
Taylor was second in command over two terms, so when Kasich veered right, and hard right in some cases, letting him do it without trying to steer the state in a different direction is why she’s doomed to walk her own Via Doloroso.