John Kasich on Health Care

Republican Governor; previously Representative (OH-12); 2000 & 2016 candidate for President


$112M for mental health hospital, plus Medicaid expansion

Talking about the need to address difficult mental health issues, Gov. John Kasich signed the $2.6 billion state capital budget, which includes $112 million to replace the main hospital at the Twin Valley Behavioral Healthcare campus.

Kasich, now about nine months from leaving office, also urged majority GOP lawmakers--and the next governor--to not do away with Medicaid expansion that he pushed so hard to implement. "It will be very easy to cut the programs that help people who need help," he said. "Don't let it happen, folks, because you won't have the services for mental health, for drug addiction and to help the uninsured."

Part of the two-year capital budget seeks to address mental health and drug addiction problems that continue to plague the state. That includes funding to replace the 178-bed facility at Twin Valley, which Kasich said he agreed to fund over a recommendation against it from his budget director.

Source: Columbus Dispatch on Ohio legislative records , Mar 30, 2018

To Dems: let market work; to GOP: help people who need it

Q: The two of you have joined together in an effort to try to fix the health care problem that Congress has not been able to fix.

GOV. JOHN HICKENLOOPER (D-CO): What Governor Kasich and I have been talking about, is, how do we stabilize the private markets? How do we deal with these high-cost pools?

Q: One of the ways usually that you build a bipartisan agreement is, both sides give up a little.

KASICH: Some in the Democratic Party that think the whole system needs to be changed at once. And there are some in the Republican Party that say, "let the market work to drive down health care costs." But we're going to have to make a serious, significant commitment to those people who are left behind. And so I think Democrats are going to have to get to the point where they say, "let the market work, give people more choice, bring down the cost of health insurance." And Republicans are going to have to admit that there's going to be a group of people out there who are going to need help.

Source: CBS Face the Nation 2017 interviews of 2020 hopefuls , Aug 6, 2017

Medicaid expansion brought health care to 700,000 people

The expansion of Medicaid has brought health care to 700,000 people, one quarter of whom have chronic illness and one-third are struggling with mental illness or drug addiction. Expanding Medicaid has freed up expanded resources in our communities to help more people.
Source: 2017 Ohio State of the State address , Apr 5, 2017

Reforming ObamaCare ok; cutting coverage is not

Q: When you expanded Medicaid in Ohio, bringing health insurance to an additional 700,000 low-income people, you defended that decision to conservatives by saying this:

KASICH [on video]: I don't know about you, but when I get to the pearly gates, I'm going to have an answer for what I have done for the poor."

Q: Republican leaders in Congress signaled this week they want to sharply reduce federal payments to 31 states. From your perspective, is that an un-Christian thing?

KASICH: There are 700,000 Ohioans who now get care who didn't have it before. A quarter of them have chronic conditions. And to turn our back on them makes no sense. Now, I believe there is an ability to reform, to repeal and replace ObamaCare which also includes a reform of Medicaid that will make the program more affordable, that will put us in a position of where we can continue to cover 20 million people and 700,000 in my state. And I'm not going to sit silent and just allow them to rip that out.

Source: CNN "State of the Union" 2017 interview by Jim Sciutto , Feb 19, 2017

Very, very bad idea to phase out Medicaid expansion

There was an initial effort by House Republicans to phase out Medicaid expansion, which means phasing out coverage. That is a very, very bad idea, because we cannot turn our back on the most vulnerable. We can give them the coverage, reform the [ObamaCare] program, save some money, and make sure that we live in a country where people are going to say, "at least somebody is looking out for me." It's not a giveaway program. It's one that addresses the basic needs of people in our country.
Source: CNN "State of the Union" 2017 interview by Jim Sciutto , Feb 19, 2017

Give financial incentive for low cost & good outcomes

I would repeal ObamaCare. I would take some of the federal resources, combine it with the freed-up Medicaid program, which I would send back to the states, and cover the working poor. We are going to make payments to physicians and hospitals who deliver healthcare with great quality at low prices. If you think about your own deductibles, they're going higher and higher. At some point, people can't afford it. Our plan will work. It uses the market.
Source: 2016 CNN-Telemundo Republican debate on eve of Texas primary , Feb 25, 2016

Ohio expanded Medicaid but not for ObamaCare

KASICH: Our Medicaid programs [in Ohio] are coming in below cost estimates, and our program in the second year grew 2.5%. When we expand Medicaid and treat the mentally ill, they don't live under a bridge or in a prison, where they cost $22,500 a year. When we take the drug addicted and we treat them, we stop the revolving door of people in and out of prisons and save $22,500 a year.

BUSH: I admire the fact that Governor Kasich is supporting spending more money on drug treatment and mental health. I think that's a high priority, but expanding ObamaCare is what we're talking about, and ObamaCare's expansion, even though the federal government is paying for the great majority of it, is creating further debt on the backs of our children.

KASICH: When Jeb was governor, his first four years as governor, his Medicaid program grew twice as fast as mine. With ObamaCare, I've not only sued the administration, I did not set up an exchange. Jeb knows that I'm not for ObamaCare, never have been.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

We save $22,500 a year by treating addicts & mentally ill

Q: You pushed Medicaid reform in your state over the rejections of many of the republicans.

KASICH: Our Medicaid programs are coming in below cost estimates, and our program in the second year grew 2.5 percent. When we expand Medicaid and treat the mentally ill, they don't live under a bridge or in a prison, where they cost $22,500 a year. When we take the drug addicted and we treat them, we stop the revolving door of people in and out of prisons and ave $22,500 a year.

Source: 2016 CBS Republican primary debate in South Carolina , Feb 13, 2016

We reduced Medicaid funding by 7.5% with no benefit cuts

We would move the Medicare system from a 7 percent growth down to about a 5 percent growth. And I have a whole series of ways to do that. In Ohio, we reduced Medicaid funding for the poor from 10 percent to 2.5 percent, didn't cut one benefit or didn't take anybody off the rolls.
Source: Fox Business/WSJ Second Tier debate , Nov 10, 2015

Ohio took Medicaid from 10% to 2.5%

In my state, we took Medicaid, the hardest program to control, and we took it from a 10 percent growth rate to 2.5 percent without taking one person off the rolls or cutting one single benefit. We can take many of those same procedures, we can apply it to Medicare. We can make a stronger program. But I agree with Jeb, you can't just do this by growing the economy. You can't grow your way out of demographics.
Source: GOP "Your Money/Your Vote" 2015 CNBC 1st-tier debate , Oct 28, 2015

Expand Medicaid; everybody has a right to God-given purpose

Q: You chose to expand Medicaid in your state, unlike several other governors on this stage tonight. You defended your Medicaid expansion by invoking God, saying to skeptics that when they arrive in heaven, Saint Peter isn't going to ask them how small they've kept government, but what they have done for the poor.

KASICH: First of all, President Reagan expanded Medicaid 3 or 4 times. Secondly, I had an opportunity to bring resources back to Ohio. And the working poor, instead of them having come into the emergency rooms where it costs more, where they're sicker and we end up paying, we brought a program in here to make sure that people could get on their feet. And do you know what? Everybody has a right to their God-given purpose. Our Medicaid is growing at one of the lowest rates in the country. And, finally, we went from $8 billion in the hole to $2 billion in the black. We've cut $5 billion in taxes and we've grown 350,000 jobs.

Source: Fox News/Facebook Top Ten First Tier debate transcript , Aug 6, 2015

Opposes ObamaCare but not all public programs

Q: You pushed ObamaCare's expansion of Medicaid through in your state of Ohio. Why?

A: I'm opposed to ObamaCare and I've been clear on that. In addition to that, instead of locking people up in prison who have mental health [problems], we give them treatment and keep them out and that saves us money. Instead of putting the drug addicted person back in prison and having them be released and back in prison, we treat them and we have a 10% recidivism rate. And for the working poor, instead of us all paying uncompensated care when they go in there and they don't have insurance, they now have health care so they're not sicker and more expensive. Now, we not only save money by doing this, and morally, we're letting people get up on their feet and have a better life. In regard to Medicaid, however, we bring our money back to treat people here in Ohio. I would [prefer to] block grant it, empowering states to deal with those who are sick and poor, so it's not a one-size-fits-all mentality.

Source: Fox News Sunday 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Aug 2, 2015

Shift funding from nursing homes to home-based care

During Kasich's tenure as governor, there was his 2011 battle with Ohio's powerful nursing-home industry: Kasich wanted to shift funding toward home-based care; nursing homes were, understandably, displeased; the industry launched a PR blitz against the governor, including a TV attack ad accusing him of literally pulling the plug on grandma and grandpa. "That commercial was seen as having crossed a line," says Kasich's chief health care adviser. The governor refused to back down and eventually won the necessary votes in the Legislature. A decidedly un-conciliatory Kasich went on to veto subsequent bills by the Legislature to aid the industry. "The governor," says an adviser, "reminded the nursing homes that they really shouldn't have gone on TV."
Source: National Journal 2015 coverage of 2016 presidential hopefuls , Mar 7, 2015

Accepted ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion statewide

Kasich has angered some conservative Republicans for his policies and his emphasis on compassion over ideological purity. He has increased state spending for social programs and accepted an expansion of Medicaid in Ohio under the Affordable Care Act.
Source: Robert Costa in Wash. Post on 2016 Presidential hopefuls , Feb 11, 2015

Expand Medicaid to 275,000 poor Ohioans, but not ObamaCare

Few have gone further than Mr. Kasich in critiquing his party's views on poverty programs, and last week he circumvented his own Republican legislature and its Tea Party wing by using a little-known state board to expand Medicaid to 275,000 poor Ohioans under President Obama's health care law.

In his three years as governor, he has expanded programs for the mentally ill, fought the nursing home lobby to bring down Medicaid costs

Yet, at the same time Ohio under Mr. Kasich refused to run its own state insurance exchange as encouraged by the health care law, known as the Affordable Care Act. The governor said he did not believe that the law, which mandates that people buy insurance, will work. To the contrary, he said, "It's going to throw people out of work and not control costs."

Source: New York Times article on Kasich and Tea Party , Oct 28, 2013

Equalize mental health coverage with physical health

In 1996, we wanted to pass legislation requiring health insurers to offer mental health parity--to equalize coverage for mental health services with coverage for physical health services. In other words, a person who became manic depressive would have equal coverage with someone who developed cancer. Most health insurance plans don't offer the same the same level of coverage for mental and physical health services, and they oppose parity because they say it would increase the costs of premiums.

I led the fight in the House. I would have preferred for the industry to come forward with a voluntary plan for parity, but they did not, so I felt Congress should act.

Our efforts were successful. The Mental Health Parity Act became law in 1998, and requires annual and aggregate lifetime dollar limits to be the same for mental health coverage as for physical health coverage. The law isn't perfect. There are more limits on the coverage than we wanted. But it is a start.

Source: Courage is Contagious, by John Kasich p.126-7 , Oct 19, 1999

$776B tax cut plan helps people afford health care

Kasich was asked, “How could the government help with senior’s prescription costs?” Kasich gave the same answer he gives to almost every other question these days: Government can help by cutting taxes. More specifically, by using the post-deficit era’s budget surpluses to slash federal income-tax rates 10% across the board -- a total of $776 billion in tax cuts over 10 years. Under the Kasich plan, an average family would save $840 a years in income taxes.
Source: Time Magazine, p. 39 , Mar 8, 1999

Voted YES on subsidizing private insurance for Medicare Rx drug coverage.

HR 4680, the Medicare Rx 2000 Act, would institute a new program to provide voluntary prescription drug coverage for Medicare beneficiaries through subsidies to private plans. The program would cost an estimated $40 billion over five years and would go into effect in fiscal 2003.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Thomas, R-CA; Bill HR 4680 ; vote number 2000-357 on Jun 28, 2000

Voted YES on banning physician-assisted suicide.

Vote on HR 2260, the Pain Relief Promotion Act of 1999, would ban the use of drugs for physician-assisted suicide. The bill would not allow doctors to give lethal prescriptions to terminally ill patients, and instead promotes "palliative care," or aggressive pain relief techniques.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Hyde, R-IL; Bill HR 2260 ; vote number 1999-544 on Oct 27, 1999

Voted YES on establishing tax-exempt Medical Savings Accounts.

The bill allows all taxpayers to create a tax-exempt account for paying medical expenses called a Medical Savings Account [MSA]. Also, the measure would allow the full cost of health care premiums to be taken as a tax deduction for the self-employed and taxpayers who are paying for their own insurance. The bill would also allow the establishment of "HealthMarts," regional groups of insurers, health care providers and employers who could work together to develop packages for uninsured employees. Another provision of the bill would establish "association health plan," in which organizations could combine resources to purchase health insurance at better rates than they could separately.
Reference: Bill sponsored by Talent, R-MO; Bill HR 2990 ; vote number 1999-485 on Oct 6, 1999

Opposes government-run healthcare.

Kasich opposes the CC survey question on government-run healthcare

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: "Federal government run health care system"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-q5 on Aug 11, 2010

Opposes physician-assisted suicide.

Kasich opposes the CC survey question on physician-assisted suicide

The Christian Coalition voter guide [is] one of the most powerful tools Christians have ever had to impact our society during elections. This simple tool has helped educate tens of millions of citizens across this nation as to where candidates for public office stand on key faith and family issues.

The CC survey summarizes candidate stances on the following topic: Legislation allowing physician-assisted suicide (Right-to-Die)"

Source: Christian Coalition Survey 10-CC-qCR on Aug 11, 2010

Loosen "one-size-fits-all" approach to Medicaid.

Kasich signed Letter to Pres. Obama from 32 Governors

As Governors, we are writing to you regarding the excessive constraints placed on us by healthcare-related federal mandates. One of our biggest concerns continues to be the Maintenance of Effort (MOE) provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, which prevent states from managing their Medicaid programs for their unique Medicaid populations. We ask for your immediate action to remove these MOE requirements so that states are once again granted the flexibility to control their program costs and make necessary budget decisions.

Every Governor, Republican and Democrat, will face unprecedented budget challenges in the coming months. Efforts to regulate state operations impose greater uncertainty on our budgets for oncoming years and create a perfect storm when coupled with the current state of the economy.

Health and education are the primary cost drivers for most state budgets. Medicaid enrollment is up. Revenues are down. States are unable to afford the current Medicaid program, yet our hands are tied by the MOE requirements. The effect of the federal requirements is unconscionable; the federal requirements force Governors to cut other critical state programs, such as education, in order to fund a "one-size-fits-all" approach to Medicaid. Again, we ask you to lift the MOE requirements so that states may make difficult budget decisions in ways that reflect the needs of their residents.

Source: Letter to Obama from 32 Governors 110107-Gov on Jan 7, 2011

Collect data on birth defects and present to the public.

Kasich co-sponsored the Birth Defects Prevention Act

Corresponding House bill is H.R.1114. Became Public Law No: 105-168.
Source: Bill sponsored by 35 Senators and 164 Reps 97-S419 on Mar 11, 1997

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Page last updated: Dec 15, 2019