Ohio governor uses faith in Medicaid expansion bid

Published on NewsOK Modified: February 22, 2013 at 2:45 pm •  Published: February 22, 2013
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Kasich was raised Catholic and worships regularly in an Anglican church. For more than 20 years, he has met every other Monday with a small group of men to study the Bible. And he has written a book about how the experience has helped him in his search for answers.

Even lawmakers who look to their religious beliefs for guidance say there are other factors to consider.

State Rep. Robert Sprague, a Republican from Findlay, Ohio, said he does think about taking care of those less fortunate. "In the Bible, Jesus makes mention of this," he said.

But there are other aspects to think about, too, Sprague said, namely whether the federal government will keep its promise to fund Medicaid and the sustainability of the nation's health care system.

"All of those things have to come together," he said. "The question is, is this the best way that we can do this?"

State Rep. Jim Buchy, a Republican from Greenville, Ohio, was raised in a Christian home and says he tries to live life in that manner.

"My faith has a bearing on every decision I make about every subject we deal with around here," he said in an interview. Buchy hasn't made up his mind on whether the state should expand Medicaid. For him, the decision comes down to three words, he said: "Follow the money."

"What we have to weigh is at what level can we provide services and still be able to pay for it without upsetting the plan to grow the economy and create more jobs," Buchy said.

House Speaker William Batchelder and Senate President Keith Faber haven't endorsed the Medicaid proposal. They say their GOP caucuses will need time to evaluate it.

Batchelder, who said he belongs to the same church as Kasich, acknowledged after Tuesday's speech that the governor's pitch was compelling.

Asked whether it would strike a chord with lawmakers, Batchelder said, "Oh, sure. No question."

No other Republican governors backing the expansion appear to have gone as far as Kasich in using religious arguments, though Florida Gov. Rick Scott also has gone beyond the numbers in explaining his plans.

Scott, who like Kasich is a vocal critic of the federal law, said Wednesday that he gained new perspective after his mother's death last year.

He said she taught him that "America's greatness is largely because of how we value the weakest among us."

___

Associated Press writers John Seewer in Toledo and Kelli Kennedy in Miami contributed to this report.


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