The GOP health care bill debate has made its way to the states, and nowhere is this debate more prevalent than in Ohio. Gov. John Kasich penned a letter alongside other governors calling for more flexibility for states. Meanwhile, two Ohio congressmen are among a growing coalition of House Republicans who are dissatisfied with the American Health Care Act.
Republican Congressmen Jim Jordan and Warren Davidson are two critics from Ohio who have joined in opposition to the health care bill. Even after Speaker Paul Ryan presented changes in hopes of persuading those who are leaning against the bill, Jordan claimed the revisions didn’t change his view.
Jordan and other Republicans have said the AHCA doesn’t go far enough in repealing Obamacare and would not lower premiums. Elsewhere in Congress, some Republicans have expressed concerns that the AHCA goes too far and restricts Medicaid expansion.
This is where Kasich enters the debate. For a quick recap, in 2013 Kasich expanded Medicaid in Ohio under provisions brought about by Obamacare. This was done much to the dismay of fellow Republicans — notably the Ohio General Assembly, which he had to circumvent to get the federal funds.
Now, Kasich has penned a letter alongside three other governors, calling for more state flexibility in health care reform. Governors from Arkansas, Michigan and Nevada joined Kasich in expressing concern over the amount of people who would be uninsured under the AHCA.
“It provides no new flexibility for states, does not ensure the resources necessary to make sure no one is left out, and shifts significant new costs to states,” reads the letter, which is addressed to Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
What the governors are citing when they point to making sure “no one is left out” are recent projections by the Congressional Budget Office that the number of uninsured will grow to 52 million by 2026.
This fundamental problem with the GOP’s plan to pass the AHCA is what will plague the Republicans as they move to vote on Thursday. The problem is that one coalition of the party, namely the Freedom Caucus, believe the bill does not go far enough to repeal Obamacare, while moderate Republicans such as Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Kasich believe the bill goes too far in reducing Medicaid provisions.
President Trump’s current strategy in rallying the troops has been to stress that if Republicans vote against the AHCA, they risk losing their seat in 2018.
In recent weeks many Republicans have faced heated crowds at town halls threatening the exact opposite: if they vote for health care repeal, they risk losing their seats. It’s seemingly a lose-lose situation for some Republicans who must decide whether they want to face the scrutiny of Trump or their constituents. Although, only one of those two will decide if the representatives keep their seat come re-election.