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What Have Ohio Republicans Done For The Poor?

By The Reverend Published: July 10, 2013

Who said this?

" 'Now, when you die and get to the meeting with St. Peter, he’s probably not going to ask you much about what you did about keeping government small. But he is going to ask you what you did for the poor. You better have a good answer.’  ”

Jesus? Sarah Palin? John Kasich? Mitch McConnell? Barack Obama?

Correct answer. Ohio GOP Governor John Kasich.

Now, hell-bound atheists like me pay no mind to warnings of apocalyptic judgment days or what Saint This or Saint That is planning on asking dead people....after they're dead. The concept of a nitpicking, scorekeeper god always seemed rather silly and petty to me. And the life after death part, at least in a modern world, is as persuasive as the 6 literal 24 hour days of creation. Those beliefs qualify me for the hell bound dumpster...and I'm perfectly fine with that.

But Ohio Governor John Kasich, apparently, is not a hell bound atheist. Kasich, again apparently, believes in the Good Book.....no, not the Betty Crocker Cookbook, the Good Book. And if there is one theme common throughout the Good Book, it is the continual call to the "chosen" to assist the poor and downtrodden....the orphans, the sick, the blind, the diseased, the outcasts.

"I can't look at the disabled, I can't look at the poor, I can't look at the mentally ill, I can't look at the addicted and think we ought to ignore them," Kasich told lawmakers.

Kasich, and to his credit, pits the significance of defending "small government" political fanaticism against the Good Book's mandate to "help the poor." The Ohio Republican governor suggests that helping the poor is a much higher priority than defending a curious fetish over small government. This hell-bounder agrees.

Ohio GOP legislators, however, don't answer to god, they answer to Tea Party primary threats and rich donors seeking tax cuts. Here is one such legislator opining on those who are poor and sick in Ohio....

In Washington, the head of the Catholic Health Association tells the story of a fellow nun who tried to persuade an Ohio GOP legislator to support Kasich's proposal, only to be rebuffed. Sister Carol Keehan, who backs the Medicaid expansion, says the lawmaker told the nun the uninsured could go to community health fairs for basic preventive care.

"He said, `Sister, they can get their blood pressures taken at the fire station,'" said Keehan, whose organization represents Catholic hospitals. "Would you want your blood pressure taken at the fire station?"

What about the job creation and the economic stimulus.....from expanding Medicaid in Ohio?

A non-partisan report released in January by the Health Policy Institute of Ohio found that the $13 billion in Medicaid funding from the federal government as well as increased local revenue and sales tax on payments to Medicaid managed care plans would mean Ohio would gain money from the expansion.

I have looked for the answers to why Ohio Republicans refuse to approve Medicaid expansion in the state. Other than the satisfaction of roadblocking the dreaded Obama, what reasons do Ohio Republicans give for kicking the sick poor in the gut just as those sick poor folks crawl to the threshold of health insurance?

Ohio Republicans do not trust that the federal government will live up to its agreement.

That's it.....um...in a nutshell...

“Then what does Ohio do? We’d have people on an assistance program” that the state couldn’t just cut loose, he (GOP Ohio House member) said. The fear is that the state could be on the hook for an expensive program.

What did Kasich and his TeaHouse Slashers do when the Bush Depression hit the states? Didn't they simply "cut loose" payments to cities, schools, counties and townships? Should the federal government renege on their end of the Medicaid expansion deal, wouldn't the TeaHouse Slashers still be able to "cut loose" payments to the sick poor? Of course.

What we're witnessing with Ohio Republicans, and controlling Republicans in many states, is first a rejection of the common public good. You see, those Ohioans who are working but still poor, too poor to afford for-profit, skimmer-riddled, health insurance, need to work harder or get a higher paying job....you know, pull harder on those boot straps. Individualism over community. The me, not the we.

Secondly, and this is even more disturbing.....Ohio Tea-saturated Republicans have joined other state's Republicans in a multi-state conspiracy to escalate the bloodless civil war Republicans have been waging against Americans over two decades. Busting unions, suppressing Democratic votes with phony voter fraud "ID" actions, banning collective bargaining, keeping workers wages low, blocking women from exercising their legal rights, targeting Planned Parenthood for punishment, and redistributing tax monies from the poor and working classes to the wealthy few.

When Ohio Republicans stand before the polling place-throne of judgment next November....voters should cast them out into the minority darkness. To a place from which they can no longer do harm to average Ohio families.

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