John Kasich Rejects ‘Obama Republican’ Label

Alex Wong/Getty Images
Alex Wong/Getty Images
Washington, DC

Gov. John Kasich of Ohio is defending himself and his New Hampshire campaign from an attack ad that says he supports President Barack Obama’s unpopular Obamacare program.

“I’m in court suing people to stop Obamacare,” Kasich told host Chris Wallace on Fox News Sunday.

The ad from the American Future Fund super-PAC calls the Ohio governor the “Obama Republican.” The narrator concludes by saying “Common Core. Obama’s Medicaid Expansions. Tax Increases. Barack Obama? No. John Kasich.”

The anti-Kasich ad is a problem for for the governor, who is struggling against three other establishment GOP candidates for a critical win in New Hampshire.

Most of the Fox interview focused on Kasich’s decision to join part of Obamacare that the Supreme Court left to each state: the decision whether to expand Ohio’s Medicaid program, government-funded healthcare for lower-income people.

Wallace ran a clip from a pro-Kasich political ad in which the Republican claimed he had “rejected Obamacare.” Wallace then said that Kasich’s expansion of Medicaid was a “pillar of Obamacare,” and that he had gone “around your Republican-controlled legislature to impose it.”

That’s when the two-term governor disputed Wallace’s statement, saying, “I’m in court suing people to stop Obamacare.”

Kasich’s defensive claim appears to be untrue.

While Ohio has joined a couple lawsuits against Obamacare, the Ohio attorney general, who is elected separately from the governor, decides for the state whether to sue. The governor of Ohio has no say in the matter.

When Republicans in Ohio refused to pass a law joining Obamacare, Kasich did so through executive action, pushing it through an administrative body called the Controlling Board.

According to legal experts, Obamacare has five pillars. One is the individual mandate, to create demand. The other four create supply: (1) the employer mandate, requiring large employers to furnish Obamacare-compliant healthcare policies, (2) state insurance exchanges, (3) taxpayer subsidies for working-income Americans to buy policies on the exchanges, paid for by other Americans, and (4) expanding Medicaid to cover millions of low-income Americans with a single-payer, socialized system.

Kasich offended many social conservatives when he claimed in 2013 that he was living out the Christian faith by expanding government-run healthcare through joining Obamacare, implying a moral imperative to do so. It is a theme that he has consistently raised in his presidential run.

Ken Klukowski is legal editor for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter @kenklukowski.