Kasich Criticizes Rollout

COLUMBUS (AP) – Ohio Gov. John Kasich on Sunday criticized the rocky rollout of the federal health care overhaul for shaking Americans’ confidence in government, while his counterpart from Kentucky called the law a positive for states.

Kasich, a Republican, and Democrat Gov. Steven Beshear of Kentucky sparred over the impact of the new law on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

Kentucky has set up a health care exchange under the new law, while Ohio has declined to do so.

Beshear told host David Gregory that more than 300,000 Kentucky residents sought information on getting insurance under the Affordable Care Act in the first month and 5,000 have joined qualified health plans.

“You know, this is working in Kentucky,” he said. “We had and have some of the worst health statistics in the country, and it’s been that way for generations. The only way we’re going to get ourselves out of the ditch is some transformational tool. That’s what the Affordable Care Act is going to do for us.”

Kasich called the rollout “a disaster” and said most Ohioans will have to pay higher costs under the new law.

He cited other recent troubles the government has faced, including a partial federal government shutdown and revelations that the National Security Agency tapped world leaders’ cellphones.

“That’s, like, three things: The government almost shut down, now they’re tapping somebody’s phone, and now this thing,” he said. “This is creating an issue of confidence in the minds of the American people and doubt with people around the world, which is really serious.”

Gregory asked Kasich whether his opposition to the law runs counter to his successful lobbying for a state legislative panel to clear funding for an expansion of Medicaid under the same law. The expansion vote last week followed failed efforts to get Ohio’s full Legislature to approve expansion.

“But that doesn’t mean I embrace ‘Obamacare,’ because I think it’s not right,” he said, calling its marketplace requirements “laboratory cooked-up” with no input from businesses.

Kasich said Ohioans paid federal taxes that are being returned to the state under the Medicaid expansion. He said program benefits will help specific groups, including drug addicts and the mentally ill.

Beshear said President Barack Obama and Health and Human Services Director Kathleen Sibelius are “taking responsibility for a bad rollout” and are fixing it.

“Look, this is going to take some time to get done, but everybody needs to chill out because it is going to work,” he said. “These plans and Medicaid are directed toward prevention and wellness, and that is the future of health care, and I think everybody knows it.”