By all lights, John Kasich should be the clear winner of last night's debate, but the Republican party has gone too crazy to allow such a thing. The last time I looked, Trump was still way in front, with Cruz and Paul bringing up the rear. The real losers were Walker and Bush.
Still, there were moments, and this was one of them. Kasich made a passionate defense to Megyn Kelly's rather snarky question about his decision to expand Medicaid.
Transcript via Time.com:
KELLY: Governor Kasich, You chose to expand Medicaid in your state, unlike several other governors on this stage tonight, and it is already over budget by some estimates costing taxpayers an additional $1.4 billion in just the first 18 months.
You defended your Medicaid expansion by invoking God, saying to skeptics that when they arrive in heaven, Saint Peter isn’t going to ask them how small they’ve kept government, but what they have done for the poor.
Why should Republican voters, who generally want to shrink government, believe that you won’t use your Saint Peter rationale to expand every government program?
KASICH: Well, first of all…
KASICH: — first of all, Megyn, you should know that — that President Reagan expanded Medicaid three or four times.
Secondly, I had an opportunity to bring resources back to Ohio to do what?
To treat the mentally ill. Ten thousand of them sit in our prisons. It costs $22,500 a year…
KASICH: — to keep them in prison. I’d rather get them their medication so they could lead a decent life.
Secondly, we are rehabbing the drug-addicted. Eighty percent of the people in our prisons have addictions or problems. We now treat them in the prisons, release them in the community and the recidivism rate is 10 percent and everybody across this country knows that the tsunami of drugs is — is threatening their very families.
So we’re treating them and getting them on their feet. And, finally, the working poor, instead of them having come into the emergency rooms where it costs more, where they’re sicker and we end up paying, we brought a program in here to make sure that people could get on their feet.
And do you know what?
Everybody has a right to their God-given purpose.
And finally, our Medicaid is growing at one of the lowest rates in the country. And, finally, we went from $8 billion in the hole to $2 billion in the black. We’ve cut $5 billion in taxes…
KASICH: — and we’ve grown 350,000 jobs.