BREAK IN TRANSCRIPT
INGRAHAM: Joining us now from Columbus, Ohio, --
JOHN KASICH, GOVERNOR, OHIO (R): I have heard that.
INGRAHAM: -- the aforementioned BFF of Barack Obama, the Governor of the Buckeye State, John Kasich. So, governor, so you guys are tight now.
I mean, you guys are practically spooning, you and President Obama. I mean, gosh, I mean that's amazing. Are you BFFs for real.
KASICH: Well, you know, yes, yes. Well, Laura, here's the thing. I had a chance to bring home to Ohio, like a number of other governors we have, including Jan Brewer, the chance to bring Ohio money back to Ohio, to do some things that, frankly, needed to be done.
And that's to treat the mentally-ill, to get them across the bridge so they can get employment. The same for the drug-addicted.
And you know drug addiction is in every demographic, every income, every community -- to treat those people, rehab them and get them to work. And also to make sure that the working poor have a system that makes sense, instead of showing up and getting all their healthcare in emergency rooms.
Now, that being said, I did not -- I've never been a supporter of ObamaCare. And the reason -- to give you an example, we refuse to run a state exchange because we didn't have the authority to make decisions.
On our Medicaid program, it grows by less than three percent. And it's been filled with innovation and it's because we run it.
INGRAHAM: Right. But, governor, the president -- right, but the president cited Medicaid expansion, Governor Kasich, as his big success story, thus far, in ObamaCare.
And he said, "Look, it doesn't get reported as such but this is a huge success story," that we're seeing all these people, new people enrolling in Medicaid across the states that are accepting the expansion money.
And he said, "We deserve credit for that." And he gave you some credit for that.
Isn't it a little bit tricky though as a conservative, because you're so great on budgetary matters, you were great up on The Hill and all the work you did there, when the federal government is spending money that, we know, the federal government really doesn't have to expand a program like this.
KASICH: Yes. Well, you know very well, Laura, that if I don't bring Ohio money back, they're not going to put it in a piggy bank. And I think it's critical that we're able to help people to help themselves, to get them to work.
Now, we promised the mentally-ill, when we took them out of the big institutions, that they would get help. Where are they now.
We have 10,000 in our prisons, many in our jails, many living on the streets. Conservatism means that you help people so they can help themselves, and that they can enter into the economic strength of our country.
Now, you'll have to separate that from the fact that the government was designing a program to take over our whole healthcare system --
KASICH: -- in the backrooms on Capitol Hill. I don't support that.
But there's a big distinction between Medicaid and our ability to bring our money back to fix our problems, as opposed to a government takeover of the healthcare system. So, I think it's not fair to draw distinction between the two.
INGRAHAM: They -- by 2023, the estimates are that the Medicaid money will triple. It's going to cost three times as much, about -- I guess it's $710 billion for the nationwide expansion.
That is a lot of money though, governor, right. And, again, I just cited all your past work on fiscal matters, and such a fiscal conservative.
INGRAHAM: I understand what you're saying.
KASICH: Well, that's right.
INGRAHAM: And every one wants compassion for the poor.
INGRAHAM: I get that. But we also have a real budget problem.
KASICH: Yes. Yes, it's not even -- first of all, when I was Chairman of the Budget Committee, when I left Washington, we had surpluses and a balanced budget.
INGRAHAM: You bet.
KASICH: So, I know about how to run a budget, Laura. I was the one that spent 10 years of my life to get us there. But, again, this is about our money.
Washington doesn't have any money. I want our money back. And let me also tell you, if you do not give these people help, they're in our prisons.
Do you know what it costs to have an inmate in the prison. And, particularly, think about having an inmate in a prison --
INGRAHAM: Wait. Every one on Medicaid would have been in prison?
KASICH: -- who's got schizophrenia, OK.
INGRAHAM: Wait a second. I'm confused. Every one on Medicaid would have been --
KASICH: I said -- no, no, no. I'm saying that we have 10,000 people who are mentally-ill, who currently do not have coverage --
INGRAHAM: Oh, I get you. I get you.
KASICH: -- who are in our prisons. So, it's not like it's cost-free to turn this down.
KASICH: OK. And in addition to that, we don't want people showing up in our emergency rooms, which means that all Ohioans have to pay for those people who don't have coverage.
INGRAHAM: Why are you being --
KASICH: So, all in all, --
INGRAHAM: -- you know, -- no, I'm sorry. I get what you're saying, the cost benefits.
KASICH: So, like what I'm saying, all in all --
INGRAHAM: I mean, the 25 governors agree with you. Twenty-five governors agree with you, 25 don't.
KASICH: But, Laura, yes, I understand that. But let me just explain again. I'm a CEO of this state. I have a chance to bring $14 billion out of Washington to me, --
INGRAHAM: Right. But your legislature --
KASICH: -- to the people here in my state who need this help.
INGRAHAM: But, governor -- and you -- by the way, every one doesn't realize this, Governor Kasich and I are friends. We're friends, so --
-- we actually are old time buddies.
KASICH: Yes, we are.
INGRAHAM: But on the issue of how you got wind about it. And, I guess, states can make their own priorities. I totally understand that.
But the legislature of the Republicans are squarely against this, most of them, right. And they're actually suing, --
KASICH: That's not true.
INGRAHAM: -- they're bringing --
KASICH: That's not true.
INGRAHAM: Well, they're bringing -- wait, are they not bringing a lawsuit to stop the Medicaid expansion.
KASICH: No, that's it. That's people -- lots of people on the outside. You know, the Speaker of the House said the other day, the reason why we had -- and this is not some arcane bore.
This is -- well, this thing has been around forever. Now, let me explain to you. The Speaker of the House said the other day that the majority of people in the Republican Party and in his House were in favor of this.
Now, if the leaders did not support this, they wouldn't have allowed this to happen. And you know what, one of the leaders told me, "Because you did it, we didn't have to do it. Thank you," --
INGRAHAM: So, then you want to take the vote?
KASICH: -- "you made it easier for us politically." Yes.
INGRAHAM: Ah, then you want to take the vote, OK.
KASICH: OK. But look, Laura, at the end of the day, -- look, let me tell you what I think conservatism is. It's growing an economy like we have in Ohio.
Our economy is doing so much better. We're running surpluses. Our credit has improved. And while you improve that side of things, it's important for people who live in the shadows to have an opportunity to share in economic growth as well.
It is not my purpose to help people who are mentally-ill without having a bridge for them to be full participants in any of the economic recovery we have in our state. And to ignore them is not conservatism.
KASICH: To ignore them means that, you know, you're looking the other way and creating other problems, so --
INGRAHAM: Yes, I mean, again --
KASICH: -- and remember something, we run this program. We run this program, Laura. And I think -- and I think we have the lowest -- let me tell you another thing.
We have the lowest growth of Medicaid that I'm aware of in the country --
INGRAHAM: Yes, I mean, --
KASICH: -- because we modernized the program. And we know what we're doing, and we'll continue to reform it.
INGRAHAM: Look, and your number is -- I've got to tell every body, your numbers have -- your numbers have gone way up in Ohio because of that economic growth. And that is fantastic.
One just quick question. Are you for a fast-track trade authority for Obama. Should he get it from this Congress.
KASICH: I have not sat down to look at all that. But I believe in free and fair trade.
INGRAHAM: All right.
KASICH: So, I've got to see what the whole -- what the whole program is about. And I'm now governor of Ohio. I'm not in Congress. And, you know what, I wake up every day and thank the Lord I'm not there.
INGRAHAM: Governor, thanks so much. We really appreciate it. And when we come back,