LIMA — Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said Wednesday he believed he had a responsibility to raise concerns about Gov. John Kasich’s proposal to expand Medicaid coverage in the state.
Mandel was the first statewide Republican officeholder to oppose Kasich’s desire to accept federal funding to expand the Medicaid program and provide health care coverage to more working poor. Since then, other high-ranking Republicans have opposed the plan. Kasich has pushed back, including Wednesday during a speech at the City Club in Cleveland, when he told the audience to “kick the shins” of those who oppose the plan.
Mandel said Medicaid expansion would ultimately leave Ohio a large bill the state can’t afford.
“I’m concerned that Medicaid expansion would be another example of federal government leaving the state of Ohio holding the bag,” Mandel said. “It would be financially detrimental to the state. There is no such thing as free money from the federal government, and we must reject that concept of free money, because it simply does not exist.”
Mandel was the keynote speaker at the Allen County Republican Party Lincoln-Reagan Dinner at UNOH Event Center. U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, and Ohio Senate President Keith Faber, R-Celina, also spoke at the dinner.
In November, Mandel lost a challenge to U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Avon. Mandel has served as a Lyndhurst City Council member and as a member of the Ohio House.
As treasurer, Mandel said he wants to see Ohio’s economy thrive through its four primary sectors: manufacturing, agriculture, energy and small business.
“The state’s economy in large part depends on those four components. Allen County is the intersection of all of those,” Mandel said before he spoke. “You can create a better economic environment through common sense tax policy and regulatory policy and create an environment to grow jobs.”
During his speech, Mandel said Ohio needs to be a Right to Work state, because border states are enticing employers and businesses looking to expand don’t include Ohio on the list to consider for a move.
Mandel believes Ohio’s path to job growth is through existing businesses and that policy needs to create an environment for smaller manufacturers to grow.
“While I wish we could attract more and more large employers to the state, the reality is that we’ll be taking smaller businesses and building them to medium and large size businesses,” Mandel said.
The Interstate 75 corridor manufacturers can benefit from the “economic revolution” happening on the eastern side of the state with oil and gas supervision, Mandel said.
“I have a vision for Allen County and the I-75 corridor, for the manufacturing of pipes, tubes, fittings, supporting that industry, with indirect jobs,” Mandel said.
Mandel also said he supports the Ohio House effort on the municipal income tax uniformity bill, saying it would benefit small-business owners.