Liberal think-tank Innovation Ohio (IO) attacked the Republican administration of Governor John Kasich for its refusal to request implementation grants for President Obama’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) in a July 11 release. Innovation Ohio — founded in 2011 by staffers of Ted Strickland, who Kasich defeated in the 2010 gubernatorial race — treats federal tax dollars as free money, praising neighboring states that “have pulled down over $130 million in federal exchange grants.”
“What the Kasich administration is doing borders on malfeasance,” IO President Janetta King said in the release, titled, “Kasich Plays Politics; Ohio Loses Millions.” After linking to a list of ACA grants tallied by the Kaiser Family Foundation, the story devolved into heated quotes from King and IO Communications Director Dale Butland as the two recited amounts of federal tax dollars granted to Ohio’s neighbors by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS).
“By kowtowing to Tea Party extremists and continuing his war against the Affordable Care Act, Gov. Kasich reveals his claim of ‘bi-partisanship’ to be a sham. Instead of accepting the Supreme Court ruling and recognizing the ACA as the law of the land, the Governor drags his feet and digs in his heels,” Butland said.
As of this writing, a Real Clear Politics average of recent polls indicates Americans support repeal of ACA by an 8.8 percent margin. From the perspective of a progressive group like IO, however, any citizens opposed to sweeping federal power are “Tea Party extremists.”
Similarly, King is not pleased with Lieutenant Governor and Ohio Department of Insurance Director Mary Taylor’s insistence that Ohio cannot afford ACA. “Meanwhile, Kentucky has pulled down over $66 million, which would be more than enough to pay the $30-$40 million Lt. Gov. Taylor says is necessary to operate an Ohio exchange in the first year. In subsequent years, many states are planning to finance exchange operations through a modest user fee on insurance companies in return for all the new business they’ll be getting,” King stated.
The IO release made no mention of the increased Medicaid costs Ohio expects to incur beginning in 2014 — estimated at $369 million in the first year and increasing thereafter — if citizens must comply with the ACA coverage mandate.
Innovation Ohio exists to lobby for new fees, new mandates, and bigger entitlement programs. But, with U.S. debt at more than $15.8 trillion at publication, it seems unlikely King and Butland will win new converts to the progressive cause by attacking opponents for their refusal to spend HHS funds.