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The People Conservatives Want Culled: The Mentally Ill, Veterans, Drug abusers And Low-Income People

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10/27/2013 02:26 PM
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The People Conservatives Want Culled: The Mentally Ill, Veterans, Drug abusers And Low-Income People
Governors debate Obamacare's troubled debut
Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:20 AM EDT

By Tom Curry, National Affairs Writer, NBC News

The debate over Obamacare's debut shifted to the state level Sunday with two governors describing their state's experiences and clashing over the value of the Affordable Care Act.

Beshear says the glitches associated with health care rollout will soon be worked out.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, defended his decision to expand the state’s Medicaid program as part of the health care overhaul, despite opposition from the state’s GOP-controlled legislature, saying on NBC’s Meet the Press Sunday “Ohio gets a good deal.”

Kasich explained that his state will get $14 billion of federal money over the next several years to expand Medicaid coverage for the mentally ill, veterans, drug abusers and other low-income people who need medical treatment.

“I’m not going to ignore the mentally ill and I’m not going to ignore the drug addicted or veterans or very (hard) working poor people on my watch,” Kasich said, but that “doesn’t mean I embrace Obamacare.”

Kasich reiterated his broader opposition to Obamacare, saying, “The problem is Obamacare doesn’t control costs… it’s going to drive up the cost for the vast majority of Ohioans. It threatens the ability of small business to grow beyond 50 employees.”

To do his Medicaid expansion and cover about 275,000 low-income people in his state, Kasich used an obscure body called the State Controlling Board to go around the legislature.

Nationwide, the Medicaid expansion is a crucial part of Obamacare, with up to 17 million uninsured people potentially eligible to be covered. But last year’s Supreme Court decision on Obamacare gave states the option to not take part in the Medicaid expansion and 25 states – including many states with GOP governors -- have chosen to not do so.

Ohio is also one of the 36 states which is not setting up its own state-supervised health insurance marketplace for the uninsured under the Affordable Care Act; so the eligible uninsured in Ohio will purchase insurance through the federally run marketplace which has been plagued by software problems which have blocked many people from enrolling for coverage.

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, said on Meet the Press Obamacare will work if given enough time.

“The advice I would give the news media and the critics up here is: take a deep breath,” Beshear said. “This is a process. Everybody wants to have a date where they can declare victory or defeat, or success or failure. That’s not what this is going to be all about. It took us about three years to get Medicare really working.”

Governors from both sides of the aisle discuss how the health care law is working on the state level.

He predicted, “People are going to sign up for this; it will take us a while to get it in process. But I’ll guarantee you we’re going to make it work because it is good for the American people and it’s good for Kentucky.”

Beshear’s state is one of only 14 states that is running its own insurance marketplace under the new federal health care law.

[link to presspass.nbcnews.com]