Day One of Mike DeWine’s Gubernatorial Campaign: Double-Speak on Medicaid Expansion

DeWine Tells WTOL, Medicaid Expansion “Has Done a Lot of Good”… But Told Tea Party Group, “I’m Against Obamacare, This Is Part of Obamacare”

COLUMBUS — Mike DeWine kicked off his campaign for governor yesterday by showing that he has two different answers on whether he backs Medicaid expansion, and it all depends on the audience he’s addressing.

Medicaid expansion covers 700,000 Ohioans and could be phased out through the health care bill being considered in the U.S. Senate this week, a prospect Gov. John Kasich has said would devastate Ohio.

“Before kicking off his campaign, Mike DeWine should have figured out where he stands on one of the key issues facing our state — whether 700,000 Ohioans will lose access to health coverage through Medicaid expansion,” said Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper. “Either DeWine doesn’t remember what his position is or he’s being a cynical politician — saying one thing to a Tea Party crowd in central Ohio and then saying the exact opposite to a reporter in Toledo. It’s fake, it’s phony, and it’s exactly what Ohioans can’t stand about Columbus.”

DeWine appeared on WTOL’s Leading Edge show yesterday and said:

“As far as the individuals — the 600… 700,000 who were added as Medicaid was expanded — what I have seen as the attorney general is that that has done a lot of good. It’s done a lot of good for people who do have a [sic] addiction. We’re seeing jails, for example, that are now detox centers. And when someone is about to get out, what smart sheriffs are doing, candidly, is they’re sitting down and having that person fill out the Medicaid form, so that person can get treatment when they get out, and they can get some help when they get out.”

“So we don’t want that to go away. That’s very important.”

Just one day earlier at the Central Ohio Patriots Meet the Candidates Forum, DeWine said:

“Yeah look Tom. I’m against Obamacare, this is part of Obamacare (applause). I’m against Obamacare. (applause). I’m against Obamacare! Having said that, you’re right, no one really knows what’s going to happen in Washington. [inaudible] I’m not there to figure out. But what we hope is we get flexibility back here. Real Ohioans can make these decisions. All of us collectively making these decisions. Let me just mentioned because my time is running this. Two things are important, we got to figure out somehow to use the money we have to help them get help, get them into treatment. We have to do it and has to get done. It literally has to be a priority. Second priority, equally important, we can no longer have a system where we disincentivize work. We can no longer have a system where we’ve created so some people are making logical decisions to them, not to work because they’re cut off if they go to work. We got to change that.”

Earlier in the week DeWine told that Medicaid expansion “isn’t financially sustainable for Ohio or the federal government.”

This isn’t the first time DeWine has flip-flopped on the issue. Back in March, DeWine told WFMJ it was “important to continue to provide… the Medicaid expansion.”