Commenter Bella Q took a field trip to testify in favor of Ohio’s Medicaid expansion, and she was kind enough to send me an account. Here’s part of what she wrote and agreed to share with us:
The interesting highlights include the testimony of government affairs personnel of assorted chambers of commerce, in support of Medicaid expansion. Strange bedfellows indeed, though the straightforward argument is that it will cost businesses more by way of increased premiums if Medicaid expansion is not adopted. The most remarkable, slightly surreal, moment of those presentations is not in the public record as it occurred in response to a question. The government affairs VP of the Ohio Chamber of Commerce stated that employers don’t know what their employees make. I verified with my nearby colleague that I’d heard correctly. The audience in our section looked at one another, puzzled, as none of us could quite believe he’d made that statement. It was quickly stepped on by a tangential question from another committee member, which appeared to be asked in genuine discussion rather than by design.
An additional interlude of note was the appearance by an Ohio Liberty Coalition board member. Her appearance itself was remarkable for her attire: a slightly short and very tight knit skirt and pumps with what appeared to be 5” heels. The blouse was white and nondescript, but she wore no jacket. Her glasses were stylish and rectangular. My colleague and I both noticed the apparent reference to a heroine of liberty for regular Muricans everywhere; even the voice was reminiscent. Her presentation concluded unsurprisingly, and I excerpted this from the public record:
“We were all very happy when Governor Kasich decided not to involve Ohio in implementing federally mandated Healthcare Exchanges because that would have committed our state’s resources to expanding federal power over healthcare in Ohio. Little did we know, a few months later that he would choose to pledge Ohio to a federally dictated expansion of Medicaid by agreeing to go along with the false promises of federal funding for it. I say false because our country is 16.4T in debt and counting. Whether you realize it or not, we have already gone over the fiscal cliff and now it’s a matter of how hard or softly we hit the bottom. By expanding Medicaid, I imagine we’re going to hit very hard.
I’m asking all true statesmen that we have in Ohio who are willing to stand up for our state, our country, all the elderly and handicapped through no fault of their own, that depend on Medicaid, and voters who helped vote all of you into office. I’m asking you to stand strong with the other states that are refusing to accept the expansion of Medicaid. Help us rid ourselves of this Obamanation in healthcare. With the expansion proposed by our Governor, the people of the state of Ohio will be burdened with heavy taxes and crushing debt, and Ohio’s truly needy children and disabled citizens will be trapped in a medically failing and bankrupt Medicaid system. Please vote no on the expansion of Medicaid. There has to be a better way of tackling the issue on healthcare than this. Thank you.”
My impression from observing the subcommittee is that there are representatives who are open to passing Medicaid expansion, as well as some who will not be persuaded. But the swing votes must hear from constituents in favor of Medicaid expansion, as they are hearing early and often from its opponents.
Here is some polling from redstate on how the Tea Party (re-branded GOP base) feel about their elected representatives, because feelings are important. I’m not sure the poll reflects the redstate write-up but none of that matters to conservatives anyway. They could have saved some money, invented numbers, and used those:
The Ohio Liberty Coalition (OLC), whose membership includes many of the state’s tea party and liberty-minded groups, has warned Republicans in the Ohio General Assembly that voting for the PPACA Medicaid expansion may invite a primary challenge. The Hill poll found a distinct partisan divide on the question of Medicaid expansion, with results suggesting Republican primary voters strongly agree with OLC.
A majority – 60 percent – replied that they would like to “give new people a chance” when asked, “Have your legislators, your members of the Ohio state House and Senate, performed their jobs well enough to deserve reelection, or do you think it’s time to give some new people the chance to do better?”
Asked the same question about Governor Kasich, 52 percent indicated they would prefer to “give a new person a chance.”