Kasich slams GOP health plan as 'inadequate'

Kasich slams GOP health plan as 'inadequate'
Gov. John Kasich (Associated Press/file)

FOX19 - Gov. John Kasich on Sunday blasted the Republican's health care bill as "inadequate" and that his party rushed the measure through simply to "fulfill a campaign promise."

The Ohio governor says his state would be severely impacted if the American Health Care Act (AHCA) was signed into law by President Donald Trump in its current form. The Buckeye State would be particularly hit hard with Medicaid cuts in 2020.

Kasich has been a vocal critic of Trump and House Speaker Paul Ryan's plans to dismantle some Obama-era health care initiatives that have benefited Ohio.

"In the area of Medicaid, they are going to eliminate Medicaid expansion," Kasich said on CNN's "State of the Union." "I cover in Ohio 700,000 people now, a third of whom have mental illness, drug addiction and a quarter of whom have chronic disease."

Kasich also scoffed at the $8 billion worth of funding House Republicans dedicated to "high-risk pools" so those with pre-existing conditions can benefit from low healthcare costs.

"These low risk pools, they're not funded, $8 billion is not enough, it's ridiculous," he said. "We can do with less resources, but we can't do it over night. You can't give people a $4,000 health policy. You know where they're gonna be? They're going to be living in the emergency room. What can you buy with $4,000?"

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House Republicans passed the bill without estimates on its economic impact or projections on how many people would be booted from healthcare. However, the Congressional Budget Office's original score for an earlier draft in March said the plan would gut $880 billion from Medicaid in a decade.

The cuts to Medicaid violates promises Trump made on the campaign trail where he made multiple bold promises ensuring everyone would be entitled to better health care.

"We're going to have insurance for everybody," Trump said in a January interview with The Washington Post. "There was a philosophy in some circles that if you can't pay for it, you don't get it. That's not going to happen with us."

A key element House leadership used to court conservative lawmakers hesitant on supporting a bill that doesn't go far enough eliminating Obamacare mandates is weakening protections for those with pre-existing medical conditions. The bill does offer safeguards and some backers argue the repeal bill protects people with medical conditions from being priced out of coverage. But it comes with one major caveat: The decision to boot pre-existing condition coverage is left up to the states.

Trump also promised premiums would drop under his health policies. However, the CBO projected premiums would rise 15 to 20 percent in the first two years but would begin to drop to a level 10 percent lower than Obamacare in 2026. The CBO also forecast deductibles would be generally higher.

More Coverage: 24 million to lose health insurance under House bill replacing Obamacare 

The House vote to pass the AHCA is the biggest policy win for Trump's early presidency. However, the bill to repeal Obamacare faces an uncertain future in the Senate. Some House members are crossing their fingers the Senate patches up the bill.

"This is a first step in fixing the issues of the high out-of-pocket costs of health care premiums and the bureaucracy of the ACA, though it is not a perfect bill," Rep. Steve Stivers (R-Upper Arlington) said following the bill's passing. "As the bill goes to the Senate and continues in the legislative process, I hope it will continue to improve to provide affordable access to quality care for the American people."

Going into the vote, the bulk of Republicans appeared lukewarm on Speaker Ryan and President Trump's initiatives to fulfill a seven-year promise made by the party to repeal the Affordable Care Act. But on the day of the bill passing through the House, it was difficult to find many lawmakers enthusiastic about  the final product.

"The vote yesterday likely was not the vote for final passage in the House," said Alexei Woltornist, spokesman for Rep. Warren Davidson (R-Troy). "The bill will go to the Senate, where they will make changes so it can pass through the Senate."

Republicans can only lose two votes in the Senate and support from lawmakers is scarce at best. But the bill might not even survive to the Senate floor. Sen. Susan Collina (R-Maine), a moderate voice in the Republican Party said on ABC's "This Week" her chamber would not be tied down by the House's health care plan.

"First of all, the House bill is not going to come before us," she said. "The Senate is starting from scratch. We're going to draft our own bill. And I'm convinced that we're going to take the time to do it right."

Sen. Rob Portman, like Kasich, rejected the bill for axing critical programs for Ohio.

"I've already made clear that I don't support the House bill as currently constructed because I continue to have concerns that this bill does not do enough to protect Ohio's Medicaid expansion population, especially those who are receiving treatment for heroin and prescription drug abuse," Portman said in a written statement Thursday.

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