When asked in two recent polls what issues were most important to them, Ohio voters said it was healthcare. So it should come as no surprise in the race for Ohio governor that healthcare has emerged as a major issue in particular over the question of what will work to protect the healthcare rights of most Ohioans.
The campaign of Democrat Richard Cordray has been critical of Republican Mike DeWine's opposition to the Affordable Care Act, citing DeWine's actions at the beginning of his term as Ohio Attorney General to file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ACA.
"I didn't like Obamacare because I didn't like the mandate, I did not like the fact that it was a tax, I did not like the fact that people could not choose their doctors as freely as they could before," said DeWine. "Those were my concerns with it, but I have consistently said that there are a couple parts of it that really are good and we must preserve."
Protections for people with pre-existing conditions among those parts DeWine seeks to preserve.
"Seven different times I voted when I was in the United States Congress in favor of covering pre-existing illness," DeWine said. "My commitment to the people of the state of Ohio is that if anytime in the future when I'm governor something happens so that pre-existing illnesses are not going to be covered, I will intervene. I will do what we have to do in Ohio to make sure that not only that you can get insurance, but that you can get insurance at a decent cost."
In a release, the Cordray camp pointed out he said in a recent debate "there's only ever been one law in this country that protected people with pre-existing conditions, and it was the Affordable Care Act," Cordray said. "Everything else he talks about was ineffective to protect people in that situation, as shown by the fact that we had to have the Affordable Care Act in 2010.”
DeWine counters "the idea that Richard Cordray is peddling that I'm not in favor of that is just dead wrong."
The Affordable Care Act also led to the expansion of Medicaid in the state after Gov. John Kasich went around the legislature to do it. As a result, more than 700,000 people have been covered under the plan and Northeast Ohio hospitals to expand and grow.
"We will keep Medicaid expansion, we want to make it sustainable in case, for example, the federal government decides instead of paying 90+ percent that they're going to drop that down to a much lower figure, we want to do everything that we can to prepare for that day if that day ever comes," DeWine said.