Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican who campaigned as a budget hawk and rode the Tea Party wave to victory in 2010, has agreed to accept Obamacare funding to expand his state’s Medicaid program, breaking ranks with fellow Republican governors and the Tea Party that elected him.
Kasich’s decision, announced yesterday, could encourage other Republican governors to do the same, joining the five who have done so already.
Originally, the Obamacare law forced states to expand their Medicaid programs. Many cash-strapped states objected, and joined the Obamacare lawsuit that the Supreme Court decided last year. One of the few bright spots for conservatives in an otherwise devastating (and, many argued, poorly reasoned) decision was that the Court affirmed the 10th Amendment right of states to opt out of the Medicaid portion of Obamacare.
But a few Republican governors–even those who said they had opposed Obamacare–decided that the federal government’s offer under the law to pay 100% of the initial cost of expansion and 90% thereafter was simply too good to refuse. The prospect of being able to tell voters that he had vastly expanded Medicaid access–and the fear of facing Democrat attacks for not doing so–seems to have enticed Kasich to accept the deal.