Obamacare Backers Stand With Kasich in Ohio Supreme Court Case

John Kasich
Ohio Governor John Kasich (R)

Briefs supporting Governor John Kasich’s enactment of the Obamacare Medicaid expansion from 21 parties including AARP, the Ohio Hospital Association (OHA), and several chambers of commerce were submitted to the Ohio Supreme Court on November 25.

Reviewing the court filings, what’s most striking is that the same organizations who urged the Ohio General Assembly to expand Medicaid are now formally arguing that the General Assembly’s refusal to do so means nothing in the wake of Gov. Kasich’s unilateral action.

The documents included more relevant arguments for the governor’s end-run around the legislature than did the November 22 amici curiae brief submitted by 27 entitlement lobbying groups, but still defended the Kasich Administration in terms of the Obamacare expansion’s promised benefits.

Accompanying their insistence that legislative intent was reflected in the executive veto which Kasich claims allowed him to implement the Obamacare expansion, the various groups submitted to the judiciary the same talking points they used in their failed months-long push to shame the legislature into adopting the policy.

Represented by The 1851 Center for Constitutional Law, 6 Republican members of the Ohio House and 2 Right to Life groups have requested the court block the Ohio Controlling Board’s October 21 decision to appropriate more than $2.5 billion in Obamacare funding at the request of the Ohio Department of Medicaid.

1851 Center Executive Director Maurice Thompson has made a strong case against letting the pseudo-legislative board appropriate billions in new federal funds which will be used to completely redefine the entitlement program, but those looking to dig deeper into taxpayers’ pockets seem happy to defend any means as justified by their avowedly selfless ends.

An entire section of the OHA brief warned that without the expansion, “the Economic Impact of $15.4 Billion in Lost Federal Funds on Ohio Hospitals Will Be Devastating.”

“Without Medicaid Expansion, Ohio’s Economy Will Suffer,” another section of OHA’s brief asserted.

Joined by 7 other parties, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce, Dayton Chamber of Commerce, and Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce repeated lies about Obamacare funding that Gov. Kasich has told all year.

According to their brief, “Medicaid expansion is about bringing Ohio money home to Ohio and back from Washington D.C. Medicaid expansion will return nearly $14 billion in Ohio taxpayer money to the Buckeye state; $14 billion that will otherwise be sent to fund Medicaid expansion in other states, leaving Ohioans with nothing in return for their hard-earned tax dollars.”

As Media Trackers first explained in February, this is patently false. The Obamacare Medicaid expansion is backed by an open-ended promise of new federal spending; it will not be paid for with “nearly $14 billion in Ohio taxpayer money,” and not one penny extra would be sent to other states as a result of Ohio rejecting the Obamacare expansion.

“The requested relief [blocking the Obamacare appropriation] will harm low-income Ohioans and will have a deleterious effect on representative state government,” AARP wrote.

“In addition to providing life-saving health insurance for low-income pre-Medicare adults, Medicaid expansion will help reduce existing racial and ethnic disparities in insurance coverage,” AARP asserted elsewhere in its brief.

“The full support and funding of Medicaid expansion in Ohio is of great interest to all citizens within the state,” the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus wrote, adding, “Not only will hundreds of thousands gain access to health care, but health care providers, state and local government, and related businesses will see financial benefit from expansion.”

Another brief was submitted by 6 organizations including National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) Ohio and Advocates for Ohio’s Future (AOF). AOF is a coalition of labor unions, health industry groups, and left-wing activists which, partnered with NAMI Ohio, was at the forefront of the failed push to get the Obamacare Medicaid expansion approved by the state legislature.

“Amici are extremely interested in the issue before this Court because the expansion of Medicaid eligibility will improve the lives of so many vulnerable Ohioans in so many ways,” AOF and NAMI Ohio wrote. “The expenditures of the federal funds authorized by the Controlling Board will provide them with access to behavioral health care and related services, such as primary care and preventative health services, that can be literally life-saving.”

In essence, special interests who could not convince the legislative branch to expand government as they desire are now swinging their emotional blackmail machine into action against the judicial branch, in defense of what seems an obvious executive power grab.

Including the four amicus briefs filed today, the following groups have made official their support for Gov. Kasich’s end-run around the state legislature.

Nov. 22 amici brief:

  • American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network
  • National Association of Social Workers – Ohio
  • National Health Law Program
  • National Multiple Sclerosis Society Ohio Chapters
  • Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging
  • Ohio Olmsted Task Force
  • Ohio Voices for Children
  • People First of Ohio
  • Policy Matters Ohio
  • The Arc of Ohio
  • The Center for Community Solutions
  • Coalition on Homelessness and Housing in Ohio (COHHIO)
  • Franklin County Public Defender
  • Ohio Empowerment Coalition
  • Ohio Federation of Teachers
  • Toledo Area Jobs with Justice & Interfaith Worker Justice Coalition
  • Toledo/Lucas County CareNet
  • Universal Health Care Action Network of Ohio (UHCAN Ohio)
  • Advocates for Basic Legal Equality
  • Community Legal Aid Services
  • Disability Rights Ohio
  • Legal Aid of Western Ohio
  • Legal Aid Society of Southwest Ohio
  • Southeastern Ohio Legal Services
  • Legal Aid Society of Cleveland
  • Legal Aid Society of Columbus
  • Ohio Poverty Law Center

Nov. 25 Columbus/Dayton/Cincinnati chambers’ amici brief:

  • Ohio National Guard Association
  • Clark County Sheriff Gene A. Kelly
  • Ohio Association of Community Health Centers
  • Ohio Manufacturers Association
  • Ohio Right to Life Society
  • Columbus Chamber of Commerce
  • Philanthropy Ohio
  • Dayton Chamber of Commerce
  • Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber of Commerce
  • Ohio Association of Health Plans

Nov. 25 AOF/NAMI Ohio amici brief:

  • Ohio Provider Resource Association
  • Ohio Council of Behavioral Health and Family Services Providers
  • National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Ohio)
  • Advocates for Ohio’s Future
  • Ohio Association of County Behavioral Health Authorities
  • Coalition for Healthy Communities

Nov. 25 Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus amici brief:

  • All 10 members of the Ohio Senate Democratic Caucus

Nov. 25 AARP amicus brief:

  • AARP

Nov. 25 OHA amici brief:

  • Ohio Hospital Association
  • Ohio State Medical Association
  • Ohio Osteopathic Association