Kasich, other governors announce health care reform plan


The national conversation may be centered on guns and immigration, but on Friday, a bipartisan group of governors that includes Ohio Gov. John Kasich tried to focus the nation’s attention, once again, on health care.

The group, which also includes Democrat Gov. John Hickenlooper of Colorado and independent Bill Walker of Alaska, in D.C. for a meeting of the National Governors Association, released a six–page blueprint for improving the nation’s health care a document that a Kasich aide described as the best of the ideas that Democrats and Republicans have agreed upon.

RELATED: Governors push health care compromise

They argue that while much of the nation has argued about coverage, they’ve avoided a very crucial conversation about cost. Increased flexibility and reforms that drive the cost down, they say, will have to be implemented in order to avoid either a single-payer system or a two-tiered system in which the wealthy get great benefits and the poor scrape by.

“We cannot afford to lose sight of” the urgency around health care,” said Hickenlooper.

Added Kasich, “We’re all looking for ways to do what: Continue to provide great health care but at lower prices.”

The plan released includes guiding principles that have often been repeated during the health care debate: provide flexibility, encourage innovation, improve the regulatory environment, for example, but includes no legislative language, nor specificity on costs. Instead, it seems to be a “reboot” of a prior conversation, an attempt to steer the nation’s attention back to health care.

Among the steps the governors call for is to restore the cost sharing reduction payments that are given to insurers in order to keep premiums low; encourage consumers to sign up for coverage; and ensuring that Americans contribute “to their health care consistent with their financial capacity.”

“Please get going,” Kasich said at one point, appearing to address lawmakers whose efforts to reform health care have stalled. “Because if you don’t, a lot of your people are going to get the shaft and not the kind of health care that they ought to have.”

One thing the governors appeared to endorse was the idea of being able to tailor Medicaid coverage to their states. Ohio has an aging population, while Colorado’s is younger. Alaska, whose governor Bill Walker also attended the press conference, has tribal issues that might necessitate different requirements than Ohio’s population, for example.

RELATED: Liberal policy group unveils coverage for all plan

For his part, Kasich appeared to put an additional onus on businesses, saying they’ll need to help drive the debate by convincing insurance companies to give them a better deal for coverage.

“It has to be the businesses in this country who say they’ve had enough, and frankly, maybe they do, but I don’t think enough,” he said, adding that “great quality at a lower price…has to be demanded by the private sector in America.”

Kasich said he supported a requirement that some Medicaid recipients work, acknowledging “a sense out there” that some receive the federal benefits while others work hard and receive less. “Work requirements are fine with me,” he said. “It just has to be thought of in a way that’s going to work and be practical.” And Hickenlooper said he’s not opposed as long as the government considers those who aren’t healthy enough to work or those who are healthy, but must take care of a child or an elderly family member.

Friday morning’s press conference is one of a series of events that Kasich has scheduled for his time in Washington. He’ll also attend an event by the fiscally conservative Concord Coalition later today and attend a reception with fellow governors late Friday afternoon.



Reader Comments


Next Up in Politics

What do you think of Ohio making it harder to put issues on the ballot?
What do you think of Ohio making it harder to put issues on the ballot?

If you’re an elitist, Ohio House Joint Resolution 19 should be your cup of tea. HJR 19, backed by the Ohio General Assembly’s Republican leaders, would make it harder for rank-and-file Ohioans to amend the state constitution. The way things are now, Ohio voters may propose an amendment to the state constitution by gathering signatures on...
Rob Portman says Trump pick for Attorney General is a ‘smart guy,’ will likely get confirmed
Rob Portman says Trump pick for Attorney General is a ‘smart guy,’ will likely get confirmed

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, told the Dayton Daily News Friday that he believes the Senate will confirm William Barr as attorney general, replacing Jeff Sessions who was fired last month by President Donald Trump. Portman met with reporters for the paper a short time after Trump announced that he would appoint Barr to replace Sessions. The announcement...
Shutdown averted as Congress passes two-week spending bill
Shutdown averted as Congress passes two-week spending bill

The Senate and House voted Thursday to keep the federal government open until Dec. 21, averting what could have a government shutdown at midnight Saturday and the potential furlough of thousands of civilian workers at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. By voice votes, the House and Senate sent a two-week spending bill to President Donald Trump to finance...
Votes delayed on Trump’s picks for Ohio appeals court
Votes delayed on Trump’s picks for Ohio appeals court

With congressional schedules backed up this week because of the memorial service for former President George H.W. Bush, the Senate Judiciary Committee Thursday delayed confirmation votes for Ohio solicitor Eric Murphy and Justice Department official Chad Readler for seats on the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati. In a statement, a committee...
The VA stayed open during the Bush funeral. Here’s why.
The VA stayed open during the Bush funeral. Here’s why.

If you were wondering why the Dayton VA stayed open during Wednesday’s National Day of Mourning for the funeral of former President H.W. Bush — after previously closing during funerals for Presidents Ronald Reagan and Gerald Ford — here’s the explanation from Dayton VA Spokesman Ted Froats. “While we join the rest of our...
More Stories