Continuing his assault on GOP efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, Ohio Gov. John Kasich told his Republican friends in Congress to stop trying to dismantle Obamacare and start working with Democrats to improve it.
Kasich told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that former President Obama’s signature achievement may be flawed, as major pieces of legislation typically are, but those flaws can be fixed if both parties agree to do it.
— Sean Colarossi (@SeanColarossi) September 20, 2017
After Matthews asked him why we can’t just agree on “fixing” Obamacare, the Republican governor said:
Well, I think, Chris, that’s what I’m trying to tell you – what [Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper] and a bunch of us, bipartisan, proposed. That we get the insurance market stabilized and there were ways in which to do it which also had guardrails so people were gonna be protected. … My sense is that Obamacare was very flawed, but there’s ways to fix it if we do it together.
As Kasich noted – likely to the disappointment of Republicans in Congress and the president himself – efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act aren’t just impractical, but they are cruel.
There are also political implications to the governor’s tough criticisms of Trump and Republicans. With Trump’s presidency going off the rails and Republicans looking increasingly like the party of tinfoil hat-wearing extremists, Kasich is looking to position himself as a pragmatic dealmaker.
It’s not clear if it will work, as many of Kasich’s other policy proposals fall under the standard right-wing platform, but relative to other top figures in the party, the Ohio governor is a reasonable voice, at least on this issue.
In any case, Kasich’s call for Republicans to join Democrats in strengthening Obamacare – not weakening it – is sensible, and the GOP would be smart to take his advice instead of pushing a bill through Congress that would hurt millions of Americans.