In Presidential Debate, Ohio’s Kasich Touts Medicaid UseTo Help Prisoners


Ohio Gov. John Kasich was one of the few candidates in last night’s Republican presidential debate in Cleveland who had a chance to discuss criminal justice issues. The Cincinnati Enquirer says Kasich may not have won the debate outright, “but he used his home-field advantage, complete with rousing cheers, to tout his resume, sell his philosophy and boost his name-recognition.”

To the biggest attack he faced, in the form of questions about his controversial decision to expand Medicaid under President Obama's health care law, he said, “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 to keep them in prison. I would rather get them their medication so they can lead a decent life. Secondly, we are rehabbing the drug-addicted. Eighty percent of the people in our prisons have addiction problems. We now treat them in prisons, release them in the community, and the recidivism rate is 10 percent. And everybody across this country knows the tsunami of drugs is threatening their very families. So we are treating them and getting them on their feet. And finally, the working poor, instead of having them 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.”

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