Republican Ohio Governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate John Kasich is in damage-control mode after The Associated Press reported unclear statements from the governor, potentially indicating his support for Obamacare.
When asked about repealing Obamacare if Republicans take the Senate in November, Kasich said “that’s not gonna happen,” The AP reported Monday. (RELATED: John Kasich Throws Support Behind Obamacare)
“The opposition to it was really either political or ideological,” Kasich reportedly said. “I don’t think that holds water against real flesh and blood, and real improvements in people’s lives.”
The AP didn’t specify whether Kasich was talking about the Medicaid expansion alone or Obamacare as a whole, but a reference to the Medicaid expansion soon after suggests Kasich may have been referring just to the welfare program.
But the governor’s office slammed The AP almost immediately for getting his quotes wrong.
“The AP got it wrong,” Kasich tweeted Monday night. “Ohio said NO to the Obamacare exchange for a reason. As always, my position is that we need to repeal and replace.”
The AP got it wrong. Ohio said NO to the Obamacare exchange for a reason. As always, my position is that we need to repeal and replace.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) October 20, 2014
“The AP screwed up,” he tweeted again. “Let me make my position simple. Repeal Obamacare.”
Spent my night talking to the NYT, WSJ & Politico. Why? Because the AP screwed up. Let me make my position simple. Repeal Obamacare.
— John Kasich (@JohnKasich) October 21, 2014
After speaking with Kasich Monday night, Politico reported Tuesday that Kasich was pushing back against The AP report even further.
“From Day One, and up until today and into tomorrow, I do not support Obamacare,” Kasich told Politico. “I never have, and I believe it should be repealed.”
“I have favored expanding Medicaid, but I don’t really see expanding Medicaid as really connected to Obamacare,” Kasich said. If Republicans win control of the Senate in November, Kasich said “you better believe they’re gonna repeal Obamacare and I agree with that.” But “there’s got to be an accommodation” for a Medicaid expansion.
Pundits have long been debating whether the Medicaid expansion is extricable from Obamacare, with expansion supporters on the right, like Kasich, suggesting that it’s a separate issue. Medicaid is a separate program from Obamacare exchanges, but the expansion is meant to square with eligibility for the exchanges and is funded by the federal government through the health-care law.
The Medicaid expansion was written into Obamacare to make the welfare health program available to all those who don’t reach the minimum income threshold for federal taxpayer subsidies on Obamacare exchanges. The health-care law’s supporters have spent years attacking GOP-controlled states for refusing to expand Medicaid because it creates a so-called “coverage gap” for people whose income falls over the maximum for traditional Medicaid coverage and below the minimum for Obamacare eligibility.