For Kasich, Is HillaryCare Really KasichCare?

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Joshua A. Bickel / Corbis

Ohio Gov. John Kasich addresses the crowd during a campaign rally with presidential candidate Mitt Romney at Port Columbus International Airport in Columbus, on Nov. 5, 2012.

Contemplating a run for higher office, Ohio Gov. John Kasich rebranded President Obama’s signature health care reform law as “HillaryCare” on Wednesday at the Republican Governors Association in Scottsdale in an attempt to link the former Secretary of State to the poor roll-out of the Affordable Care Act. But the key components of the law are not dissimilar from Kasich’s own 1994 healthcare proposal.

The pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC American Bridge is circulating a research document listing the ways Kasich’s own healthcare reform proposal is like the Affordable Care Act, branding it “KasichCare.”

In April of that year, Kasich, then the ranking member of the House Budget Committee, circulated a plan that included a form of individual insurance mandate. At the RGA meeting, Kasich suggested that reporters dig into who crafted the healthcare law on Capitol Hill, suggesting it as the topic for a book. Kasich’s 1994 proposal included guaranteed coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and a tax on so-called “Cadillac” insurance policies offered by employers, both components of Obamacare. At the meeting, Kasich was outspoken in his defense of expanding Medicaid using federal funds from the Affordable Care Act, a move many conservative governors rejected.

The American Bridge document is below:

1994: Kasich Proposes Legislation To Achieve Universal Health Coverage Though An Individual Health Care Mandate—All Individuals Must Be Insured. According to CongresDaily, “A key House Republican is circulating to select offices a market-based healthcare reform draft and discussion paper aimed at cultivating a bipartisan consensus around universal coverage without employer mandates. President Clinton has promised to veto any bill that does not achieve universal coverage. But while many legislators acknowledge it would be difficult if not impossible to get universal coverage absent an employer mandate, there is growing resistance in Congress to the idea and members now are searching for ways to soften the blow to the business community. The draft, crafted by Budget ranking member John Kasich, R-Ohio, and obtained by CongressDaily, pulls ideas from a number of proposals already on the table in Congress, including measures offered by Sen. John Chafee, R-R.I., Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tenn., House Minority Leader Michel and Rep. Roy Rowland, D-Ga.”[CongressDaily 4/4/1994]

Kasich’s Plan Was Title “The New Prescription: Finding The Common Ground.” According to American Health Line, “Rep. John Kasich (R-OH) has drafted a health reform plan that “seeks to create a bipartisan consensus around proposals that constitute true health reform.” The plan, titled “The New Prescription: Finding the Common Ground,” provides for universal coverage by 2005 and creates voluntary alliances to help families and small businesses afford insurance.” [American Health Line 4/6/1994]

March 28, 1994: Kasich Releases Proposal And Accompanying Press Release. According to American Health Line, “According to a Kasich release, “The proposal is designed so that businesses (that) are currently providing health coverage would be permitted to continue offering their existing plans. There are no mandates requiring employers to pay for all or a portion of employer-provided coverage” (release, 3/28).” [American Health Line 4/6/1994]

Kasich Plan Sought To Achieve Health Care Compromise To Achieve Universal Health Care Through An Individual Mandate. According to the AP, “Another Republican, Rep. John R. Kasich of Ohio, is circulating a new compromise proposal that also aims for universal coverage by 2005 through an individual mandate.”[AP 4/6/1995]

Kasich’s Plan Mandated All Individuals Purchase Health Care Through Their Employers. The Federal Government Would Pay THE ENTIRE Premium For Those In Poverty. “Kasich’s plan would provide universal coverage by requiring individuals to enroll in insurance plans through employers. The federal government would pay the entire premium cost for those within 100 percent of poverty, and the partial cost for those between 100 and 200 percent of poverty. But for people exceeding 200 percent of poverty, little would change from the current healthcare system, meaning they could be saddled with the entire premium cost. Employers, however, could make voluntary contributions as they do today.” [CongressDaily 4/4/1994]

Kasich Plan Established Both Public And Private Health Care Purchasing Pools. According to CongresDaily, “The draft plan stops short of requiring states to establish purchasing alliances, but allows the creation of public and/or private purchasing pools. Both large and small employers currently providing health coverage could continue to do so. All other businesses with fewer than 100 employees would be required to join a purchasing pool or contract directly with a certified health plan. Employers with more than 100 employees would be prohibited from joining pools with small businesses. Large employers that do not pay 50 percent of the cost of the employer-provided plan, however, would have to allow employees to enroll in either a public or private purchasing pool, with the employer paying the same per-capita amount to those employees that they would contribute to the employer plan. The level of non-taxable benefits available to each employee would be limited to 80 percent of the national costs of health insurance for 1994. The tax cap also would limit the level of benefits deductible for employers.” [CongressDaily 4/4/1994]

Kasich’s Plan Guaranteed Coverage For Those With Pre-Existing Conditions. According to CongresDaily, “The plan calls for market reforms, including guaranteeing coverage for people with pre-existing conditions, and assuring renewability and portability from job to job. It also would incorporate a modified community rating system and reform the malpractice liability system.” [CongressDaily 4/4/1994]

Kasich’s Plan Contained A Functional Tax On Cadillac Insurance Plans By Capping How Much Of the Premiums Employees And Employers May Deduct From Their Taxes. According to American Health Line, “Cost-containment measures include a tax cap on the deductibility of employer-provided “Cadillac” insurance plans and a requirement that states disseminate information (outcomes/cost data) on providers in each region.” [American Health Line 4/6/1994]

Kasich, Like Democrats, Explained His Plan Was To Use “The Market.” According to American Health Line, “”Market reform” measures include outlawing restrictions for pre-existing conditions, assuring renewability and portability, and establishing a “modified community rating system.”” [American Health Line 4/6/1994]