One day after President Barack Obama praised Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) for his expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, Kasich dismissed the idea that he and Obama are "BFF."
Appearing on Fox News' "The O'Reilly Factor," Kasich was confronted by guest host Laura Ingraham for his state's participation in Medicaid expansion. Ingraham cracked that Kasich and Obama were becoming "BFF" and practically "spooning" together.
"[I had] the chance to bring Ohio money back to Ohio to do some things that frankly needed to be done," Kasich said, citing treatment of the mentally ill and drug addicted, as well as providing insurance outlets for the working poor.
"That being said, I have never been a supporter of Obamacare," Kasich added, citing his refusal to run a state exchange.
Ingraham pressed back on that, saying that Medicaid expansion has been touted by Obama as a key success story within the government-run health care program. But she claimed that Obamacare is using money that the government doesn't have to spend, prompting the question of whether that was tricky to support as a conservative.
“Conservatism means that you help people so they can help themselves, and that they can enter into the economic strength of our country," Kasich said. "Now you have to separate that from the fact that the government was designing a program to take over our whole health care system in the back rooms on Capitol Hill."
Speaking Thursday at ArcelorMittal Cleveland Steel Factory in Ohio, Obama gave Kasich a shoutout for his role in helping Ohioans have better access to health insurance.
I got to give your Governor a little bit of credit. John Kasich, along with a lot of state legislators who are here today, they expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. And think about that. Just that one step means as many as 275,000 Ohioans are going to have health insurance. And it doesn't depend on a website. That's already happening because of the Affordable Care Act.
And I think it's fair to say that the Governor didn't do it because he just loves me so much. (Laughter.) We don't agree on much, but he saw, well, this makes sense -- why wouldn't we do this? Why wouldn't we make sure that hundreds of thousands of people right here in Ohio have some security? It was the right thing to do. And, by the way, if every Republican governor did what Kasich did here rather than play politics about it, you'd have another 5.4 million Americans who could get access to health care next year, regardless of what happens with the website. That's their decision not to do it. And it's the wrong decision. They've got to go ahead and sign folks up.
CORRECTION: A headline elsewhere on The Huffington Post incorrectly identified the program expanded by Kasich as Medicare, not Medicaid.