John Adams of the Great Falls Tribune has once again obtained some very interesting video from a closed-door Republican meeting.
In the video, TEA Party Republican Scott Sales appears to have attempted some chest thumping in front of the press after Adams discovered the meeting. He launched into an attack on the visiting Republican governor, who was the leading proponent of expanding medicaid in Ohio, only to get immediately and somewhat embarrassingly schooled.
You can click here to watch the raw video John Adams recorded from the meeting Montana GOP legislators had with GOP Governor John Kasich yesterday.
Sales launches his attack with:
You recently approved Medicaid expansion – if you have this extra money at the state level why not use state dollars instead of federal dollars? By your own admission you are reenforcing this idea that you want someone else to do the heavy lift. You could have said no to federal dollars. You as the governor–and we as the legislature–we can say no to all the federal dollars. And quite frankly under section [unintelligible] of the constitution, you know as well as I do that the federal government is way out of bounds in a lot of areas where it has no authority. I’d be singing your praises and probably support you for president if you had cut the apron strings and said no to federal dollars – especially since you had a surplus and not enabling this thing to go on and on and frankly, I find you to be somewhat hypocritical.
Sales apparently was referring to the TEA Party GOP-ers scheme they say they are concocting, which, I kid you not, would turn away the money available to pay for Medicaid expansion in Montana, and ask Montanans to spend more state money to cover a small fraction of those actually eligible for Medicaid expansion.
Kasich, apparently realizing straight off that he was dealing with .22 caliber minds in a .357 magnum world, quickly shot down this TEA Partier:
There’s no money in Washington, it’s my money. I brought my money back to Ohio. And what did we do with it? We treat the mentally ill. We treat the drug addicted. And we help the working poor stop going to emergency rooms and forcing me to pay for their medical bills because they go there sicker.
Now, I don’t know if you’ve ever read Matthew 25, but I’d commend it to you- the end of it. It’s about do you feed the homeless and do you clothe the poor. I’m a believer that it is in the conservative tradition to make sure we help people get on their feet so they then are not dependent…
Now do I think that it is appropriate for the federal government to in some ways be a partner and provide some resources to and help solve problems in the states? I do.
Kasich continued by pointing out that:
Ronald Reagan expanded medicaid. I don’t know if you know that or no,t but he expanded medicaid and he’s the patron saint of all the conservatives I know.
Kasich did not add the other GOP president who expanded Medicaid, George Bush senior, so I’ll do it here. Bush’s Medicaid expansion initiative, which he called the Health Insurance Flexibility and Accountability (HIFA) initiative or HIFA Waiver program, was created in 2001 to allow states to cover able-bodied adults. It’s something that the majority of states now do, but Montana is far behind in this area.
Kasich then asked Rep. Sales “how fast has your Medicaid program grown in Montana?”
Sales tried to shrug off the question and said “I don’t know.”
But Kasich again pushed back, “No you’re asking me so I’m asking you – how fast has it grown in Montana.”
Sales started to make excuses for his cluelessness like “Oh, well I’m not on appropriations”
“So you don’t know…” Kasich shot back.
When I came into office state share medicaid grew at 9% my first budget it grew at 3% and we didn’t cut anybody off and we didn’t reduce any benefits. Now what we’ve been able to do is keep the promises we made to the mentally ill.
Kasich is highlighting the mentally ill because one of the best ways to help address the problem Montanans face with untreated mental illness is Medicaid expansion. In fact, in Montana, 42% of uninsured adults with mental health conditions would be eligible for coverage when Bullock’s Healthy Montana Plan, which uses a private contract to provide health coverage for working poor Montanans, passes.
Kasich continued by pointing out that:
Turning down your money back to Montana on an ideological basis–when people can lose their lives becauses they get no help–that makes no sense to me. So I read in the Wall Street Journal on Saturday about the doctor in MT who is treating all these people after a guy froze to death. I read that and I thought – we gotta help those people…
I’ve been in all these places – and if I thought expanding medicaid would keep us from being able to have a balanced budget or from having fiscal responsibility or was going to create dependence, I wouldn’t be for it. In my state, its working…
Your position is based on strict ideology its not based on the practicalities of what happens in the street.
I can’t tell from the video if TEA Partier Art Wittich, public enemy number one of working poor Montanans, is in the closed-door meeting. He may have been busy dealing with his upcoming jury trial in the political practices case against him, where he faces removal from office.