Kasich Budget Priorities Attacked By Both Left, Right


With his signature on the state budget Sunday night, Gov. John Kasich managed to alienate both the political left and right.

Against the wishes of GOP lawmakers, Kasich vetoed a provision that would have prevented Medicaid expansion.

The veto sets into motion further debate on whether Ohio will meet the December 31 deadline to expand Medicaid to include an additional 366,000 Ohioans.

The veto was met with praise from consumer health care groups.

"We are pleased that Gov. Kasich vetoed language that prohibited the state from extending Medicaid to more Ohioans," said Cathy Levine, Co-Chair of Ohio Consumers for Health Coverage.  "The veto ensures that the administration's hands are not tied should the General Assembly fail to act on the expansion."

Democratic lawmakers also praised the governor.

"I am pleased that Gov. Kasich used his veto authority to remove a prohibition on Medicaid expansion from the state budget," said senate minority leader Eric Kearney.  "And now that it's gone, the pressure is the Republican leadership in the House and Senate to move forward with Medicaid expansion without further delay."

What Kasich did not veto, however, were a series of controversial anti-abortion bills.

The budget essentially cuts off $1.4 million in federal funding for Planned Parenthood.  Four other clinics could close due to a funding cut of 50 percent.

"Before today he had already signed more anti-choice bills into law than any other governor in the decade and today he just reaffirmed his front seat position in the war on women," said Jamie Miracle from NARAL Pro Choice Ohio.

Miracle says Kasich has reopened the war on women.

"This may be happening now and the governor may be thinking the voters will forget, but the voters of Ohio will not forget what he did Sunday," said Miracle.

The most controversial provision mandates abortion providers tell women "of the probable anatomical and physiological characteristics" of a fetus during various stages of its development.

"We think women should be able to hear and see the beating heart of her unborn child," said Mike Gonidakis from Ohio Right to Life.

Gonidakis says it is not unusual for the abortion bills to have been placed in the state budget.

"This is a trend that's been going on for many decades with budget bills," said Gonidakis.  "The last budget bill we had four pro-life amendments put in there and this time we had an opportunity to get a fifth one in there."

Kearney disagrees that abortion policy should be in a state budget.

"The Governor could have done the right thing by vetoing extreme language in the budget that defunds Planned Parenthood, reduces a woman's right to choose and interferes with a doctor's ability to practice medicine," said Kearney.  "These extreme attacks on women's healthcare rights should have been removed from the budget."

Miracle says a pro-choice rally held last week was just the beginning of organized opposition to Kasich as he faces reelection next year.