Kasich, Mandel At Odds Over Ohio Medicaid Future

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Two top Ohio Republicans are in opposition over plans to expand Medicaid for thousands in the state.  Governor John Kasich is in favor; state Treasurer Josh Mandel is opposed.

Now, traditional adversaries of the governor are coming to his defense.

Healthcare advocate Cathy Levine has often opposed Kasich's agenda, but she's taking sides in a growing GOP war over Medicaid.

"The governor is completely right," Levine said.  "I believe Treasurer Mandel is putting politics ahead of the benefits of the state of Ohio."

Levin is making reference to a letter Mandel sent to lawmakers Tuesday stating "there is no free money" and urging them to "reject an expansion of Medicaid in Ohio."

Kasich said Mandel never contacted him about his views.

"I haven't talked to Josh about it, I suppose, at some point, I will," Kasich told WBNS-10TV.  

Mandel's letter is a direct challenge to his fellow Republican Kasich, who is counting on Medicaid dollars in his budget proposal.

"You just can't turn your back on these poor people," Kasich said.  "These are working poor who don't have any health insurance."

Mandel refused interview requests.  Instead, tea party representatives praised him and hammered Kasich.

"It's an expansion of socialized medicine plain and simple," said Maurice Thompson of the conservative 1851 Center for Constitutional Law.

"The governor is more of a consequentialist than a free marketeer or a true believer in any sort of conservative or limited government principals," Thompson said.

Mandel's public disagreement with Kasich is a step back into the public eye after being defeated by Sherrod Brown in a race for the US senate last November.

Besides Kasich, Mandel's position puts him at odds with AARP, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, the Ohio Dental Association, Voices for Ohio's Children and Ohio Right to Life.

"I've never seen such a broad coalition of stakeholders coming together to support anything," Levine said.

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