Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) criticised members of his party in Washington in an interview with The New York Times published Tuesday, saying there “seems to be a war on the poor.”
“I’m concerned about the fact there seems to be a war on the poor,” he told the Times’ Trip Gabriel. “That if you’re poor, somehow you’re shiftless and lazy.”
“You know what?” he added. “The very people who complain ought to ask their grandparents if they worked at the W.P.A.”
Kasich has openly bucked his party on the social safety net repeatedly, positing it as an issue of compassionate conservatism. He has said that “more important when you go to heaven than whether you kept government small was what did you do for the poor.”
In the most recent example last week, he bypassed his own Republican legislature to expand Ohio’s Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act, bringing health coverage to nearly 300,000 Ohioans. That move was blasted on the right by the Wall Street Journal, among others, which mocked Kasich’s religion-based argument and accused him of “feel[ing] like he’s being guided by the Holy Spirit.”
Kasich has made it clear that he opposes the Affordable Care Act as a whole, but that he feels a responsibility to improve coverage for poor people under Medicaid.
“I’ve articulated my opposition to Obamacare,” Kasich said on “Meet the Press” last Sunday.
“But Chief Justice Roberts gave every state an opportunity to try to get federal dollars to improve Medicaid. Now, we have many mentally ill people in this country who are being treated terribly. We have people who are drug addicted, and drug addiction is in every demographic, every race, every income level. And we also have many veterans who aren’t covered.
“So Ohio gets a good deal. We get $US14 billion of Ohio money back to Ohio to deal with some of the most serious problems. And, you know, I’m not going to ignore the mentally ill and I’m not going to ignore the drug addicted or veterans or very working poor people on my watch. But that doesn’t mean I embrace Obamacare, because I think it’s not right.”