The Corner

Medicaid Expansion — Not Compassionate, Not Conservative

Today is a critical day for Ohio in the fight over Medicaid expansion. Having been rebuffed by the state legislature, which rejected Governor Kasich’s plan to accept Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, Mr. Kasich pulled a page out of President Obama’s playbook, and went ahead and entered into an agreement with the federal government to expand anyway. Now Kasich is attempting to circumvent the ordinary legislative process, asking a special appropriations board (the “Controlling Board”) to bless his expansion after the fact. The tacit threat is that if the members of the Controlling Board don’t agree, then the Medicaid program in Ohio will go bankrupt.

The members of the Controlling Board should not be strong-armed by Kasich’s Chicago-way tactics. The Kasich administration has said time and again that Ohio will have the ability to opt out anytime it chooses. Now would be a good time to put Kasich’s theory to the test.

On the merits, Ed Meese makes the case today on NRO that Medicaid expansion is not conservative, and it certainly isn’t consistent with how Reagan acted, contrary to Kasich’s assertions. But Governor Kasich has continued to argue that expanding Medicaid is the right thing to do, consistent with what God would want us to do for the less fortunate. At this point, it is worth quoting the Gipper, who rightly said:

“The size of the federal budget is not an appropriate barometer of social conscience or charitable concern.” And equally instructive: “Generosity is a reflection of what one does with his or her own resources and not what he or she advocates the government do with everyone’s money.”

— Robert Alt is a contributor to National Review Online and president of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions.

Robert Alt is the president and chief executive officer of The Buckeye Institute.

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