Kasich calls on Ohio to lead U.S.

He says state must spur health-care changes, budget amendment

8/17/2013
BY JIM PROVANCE
BLADE COLUMBUS BUREAU CHIEF

COLUMBUS — Sounding more like a 2016 presidential candidate than a 2014 candidate for re-election, Gov. John Kasich on Thursday called for Ohio to lead the way toward adoption of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced federal budget.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich
Ohio Gov. John Kasich

He also redubbed the nation’s health-care law, sometimes called “Obamacare,” “Hillarycare” in reference to Hillary Clinton, considered the early front-runner for the Democratic nomination in three years if she chooses to run.

“We will pass a resolution, and I am watching the Democrats,” Mr. Kasich said at a fund-raiser luncheon for the Franklin County Republican Party. “We will be watching them to see how many of them really care about fiscal responsibility and job growth, because without fiscal responsibility, we will have no significant job growth.”

The lengthy process would require the Ohio House and Senate to pass a resolution calling for a national constitutional convention. The legislatures of at least 33 more states would have to follow.

“Now, do we really want a constitutional convention? Not really,” Mr. Kasich said. “But I can tell you, when we get to 34, that Congress will act.”

Support of voters in 38 states would be needed to enact a constitutional amendment emerging from such a convention or Congress. “The governor can’t get 20 of his own votes in the Statehouse to pass Medicaid expansion, and he thinks he can get 38 states to pass this?” an Ohio Democratic Party spokesman said.

Mr. Kasich dismissed a suggestion that his proposal, as well as his drawing Mrs. Clinton into the discussion, was looking ahead at 2016 instead of 2014, when his re-election bid is expected to be challenged by Democratic Cuyahoga County Executive Ed FitzGerald.

“In politics, people are always trying to assume what your ulterior motive is,” Mr. Kasich said. “I have no ulterior motive here. My motive here is to get the federal government in a place where my daughters can have a good life, and secondly, I do want to see health-care reform, just not the health-care reform that we have.”

The governor’s name frequently surfaces as a potential candidate on the national stage in what could be a crowded field for the GOP presidential nomination in 2016.

Mr. Kasich said it was fair to link Mrs. Clinton with President Obama’s Affordable Care Act. She was the architect of a failed health-care reform effort under her husband’s administration in the early 1990s, and she embraced such reform in her own unsuccessful campaign for the Democratic nomination in 2008.

While he generally objects to the federal health-care law — the Affordable Care Act — Mr. Kasich has frustrated conservatives in his party by embracing the idea of expanding eligibility for Medicaid under that law.

In his luncheon speech, he chastised his own party for not acting after “Hillarycare” failed.

“You know, in nature, voids don’t exist,” he said. “Something always fills the void. But unfortunately what’s filling the void is not only not going to reduce the cost of health care, it can contribute to people being unemployed, because no one’s hiring anybody to work 30 hours anymore, because they don’t want all these laws to affect them. …”