Taylor vs. DeWine, by the issues: Medicaid expansion

May 4, 2018

You’ll recall that John Kasich (governor of Ohio 2011-2019) was one of the Republican governors who disappointingly chose to embrace the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid, putting thousands more in government dependency; when Ohio rejected his preferred policy, Kasich circumvented the legislature and imposed his will anyway.

Two candidates are running for the Republican nomination to replace Kasich (who is term-limited):

Mary Taylor

As Ohio’s Jason Hart puts it at National Review Online,

The only candidate who has promised to phase out Kasich’s Medicaid expansion is Mary Taylor . . . .

In fact, Taylor has pointed to Kasich’s decision to expand Medicaid as a defining turning point in his governorship.  He was originally elected as a serious reformer, in the Tea Party wave of 2010, but ends his eight-year governorship as a disappointment.

Mike DeWine

Mike DeWine has refused to say he would reverse Kasich’s Medicaid expansion if elected, which means (politics being what it is) he would take the path of least resistance and leave it in place.  Indeed, the fact that DeWine has refused to take a position, in particular refusing to say he would reverse Medicaid expansion, is practically the only thing everyone on the left (e.g., here and here), right (here, here), and in between (see here, DeWine himself here: “DeWine notably stopped short of laying out his exact plans for Medicaid . . .”) can agree on.

This makes it especially disingenuous, then, that DeWine has been sending out ridiculous negative mailers trying to smear Mary Taylor on the issue.  (Note the return address—this comes straight from the DeWine campaign.)  In particular, it says this:

Medicaid expansion bankrupting Ohio.png

“Medicaid Expansion is bankrupting Ohio.”

So we all agree:  Medicaid Expansion is terrible, it’s bankrupting Ohio.  So why is Mary Taylor the only one promising to reverse it?  Why does DeWine refuse to take a position?

DeWine’s highly colored and manipulative negative mailer does point to one source, about Mary Taylor and Medicaid expansion.  It appears to be referring to this article, where, back in 2013, as lieutenant governor under John Kasich with zero authority to set policy on her own, Mary Taylor defended her boss’s decision (barely).  She spends about as much of the article criticizing Obamacare as she does defending Kasich.  In particular:

While neither Kasich nor Taylor support the ACA, commonly referred to as Obamacare, the federal dollars that will be used to fund the Medicaid expansion will include tax money paid by Ohioans, and Taylor said the administration wants to bring that money back home.

Update (May 4th, 2018): Mary Taylor explains that she did what she could from the inside:

From day one I was very clear with the governor that I did not support Medicaid expansion.


I have been inside this administration, but my record is pretty clear … I challenge the status quo from inside the administration.


“. . . I haven’t always agreed with this governor, but I respect the man and I respect the position.” Any disagreements with Kasich were kept “behind closed doors,” she said.

She did what she could to persuade Kasich, but ultimately it was his decision; the lieutenant governor doesn’t get a vote.

Throughout the current governor’s race, Mary Taylor has been consistent.  She’s the only one willing to go on record as opposing the Medicaid expansion.  DeWine agrees that it’s a terrible policy, but declines to say he would reverse it.


2 Responses to “Taylor vs. DeWine, by the issues: Medicaid expansion”

  1. […] the Republican side, after all the acrimonious and misleading negative ads (it’s nice to have friends in high places) and jockeying to […]

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