Last week, Republican Gov. John Kasich from Ohio came to Montana. During a meeting with legislative Republicans, Rep. Scott Sales from Bozeman asked him about his support for Medicaid expansion and why he accepted federal funding instead of attempting to pay for it entirely in state dollars.
His response was eloquent and inspiring. Here is what he said:
• He stated, "There's no money in Washington, it's my money." "I brought my money back to Ohio. And what did we do with it? We treat the mentally ill, we treat the drug addicted, and we help the working poor stop going to emergency rooms and forcing me to pay for their medical bills because they go there sicker."
• He went on to state that Medicaid expansion helped grow their economy and shamed Sales for his idealism over what he described as good conservative values.
• He sighted the scripture, Matthew 25, and stated that his conservative values and faith commanded him to help his neighbors until they were able to help themselves.
• He went on to say, “Now, I gotta tell ya, turning down your money back to Montana on an ideological basis when people can lose their lives because they get no help doesn't make a lot of sense to me.”
Ohio Gov. Kasich is a man who is getting things done for his state and following his values. I may not believe in everything he has done, but I can be proud of a person who stands up for their principles and is not afraid to call out those extremists who let their idealism block them from helping their fellow neighbors get things done in the legislature.
Lets hope everyone in our legislature gets the message and finds a Montana solution to Medicaid expansion.