WASHINGTON ― Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) implored congressional Republicans to change tack on an Obamacare repeal by cutting out conservatives and working with Democrats to preserve coverage for millions of Americans ― and he admitted that the raucous town halls across the country are influencing the debate.
“There’s going to be a problem in the House of getting anything out of there that still provides coverage to people,” Kasich told “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson. “That’s why the Republicans have to reach out to some of the Democrats.”
Kasich mentioned that there were some conservatives in the House who were trying to get rid of the entirety of Obamacare.
“And that’s not acceptable when you have 20 million people, or 700,000 people in my state [using Obamacare], because where do the mentally ill go?” Kasich asked. “Where do the drug addicted go?”
Kasich is a proponent of the Medicaid expansion, which allowed states like Ohio to offer Medicaid to a broader range of people (including individuals making roughly $16,000 a year). Conservatives have already indicated they won’t vote for an Obamacare repeal that preserves the Medicaid expansion, while some Senate Republicans have indicated they won’t support a repeal that removes the expansion. That has left the GOP in a bind, and Kasich thinks the answer is to turn to Democrats.
Kasich also said he thought protests were affecting Republicans.
“Look, I don’t understand everything that’s going on with these town halls, but … I think it’s having an impact from the standpoint of ‘Hey, people are watching,’” Kasich said. “I don’t think they mind reform, but don’t take everything away.”
On Saturday, governors were briefed about the GOP replacement plan, with the expectation that millions could lose coverage.
Kasich reiterated that he didn’t want to kick 20 million people off of health care, and that this debate was bigger than a political argument.
“At the end of the day I’m going to stand up for the people that wouldn’t have the coverage if they don’t get this thing right,” Kasich said. “And I happen to believe that the best way to get this right over time is for actually both parties to work together.”