Gov. John Kasich of Ohio believes the Affordable Care Act should be fixed, not repealed.
Kasich said in an interview with Business Insider that if there’s “one campaign promise” Republicans “ought not to fulfil,” it is repealing “Obamacare without a decent replacement.”
“Well, you have to fix it, not repeal it,” he told Business Insider during a Monday interview while promoting his new book, “Two Paths: America Divided or United.”
“We always say ‘repeal and replace,’ those are like, political words. … It needs reformed. And, the exchanges need to be reformed. And with Medicaid expansion, you can, over time, begin to return that to a more reasonable match with the states. I mean there are ways to deal with this, I just don’t want people being cut off.”
Kasich, who sought the Republican Party’s presidential nomination in 2016, has been an outspoken voice in the debate over healthcare. He visited the White House in late February and discussed healthcare policy with the president. The meeting occurred just before the introduction of the American Health Care Act, the Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act.
Polling shows that Americans overwhelmingly agree with the sentiment expressed by Kasich. An April poll from the Democratic firm Public Policy Polling found that 62% of voters surveyed said they preferred Congress keep the Affordable Care Act and fix the problems with it. Just 30% of respondents said they would rather have Congress vote to repeal the law and start over with new legislation.
On his meeting with Trump at the White House, Kasich said the president was “extremely receptive” to the governor’s views on healthcare.
“I even talked about the crisis with the pharmaceutical industry and how the government has to have some leverage on these prices,” he said. “You know, I was there for a long time and it was a very pleasant meeting. Where it ended up was not where I wanted it to, and that’s why I kind of stood against this healthcare bill.”
“But to tell you the truth, I don’t think the president has any hard feelings about this, hard feelings about healthcare,” he added. “I don’t think he’s in stone on something. He’d just like to see something get done. And I think there’s a battle for him inside this White House. Those who want him to be more reasonable and those who want him to be more hardline and whoever wins, it’s like a tug of war, and we’ll judge him on the basis of who he’ll listen to.”
Kasich, who said he has no sense of how the healthcare debate will shake out, expressed concern that “people that don’t have power are not priorities for people in public office.”
“Maybe it’s always been that way, but I see it more starkly now,” he said. “Maybe because of my job as governor. So, if you’re drug addicted, ‘Well, well.’ If you’re mentally ill, ‘Well, you know. Well.’ If you’re really poor, ‘Well, you know, bootstraps.’ This is concerning to me because nobody should be left behind. And I see it happening too much.”
“And we’re going to fix Obamacare by repealing some of the tax increases on some of the richest people in the country and then have less resources to help people with mental illness and drug addiction?” he added. “It’s foolhardy. It’s nonsense. I don’t buy it.”
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