John Kasich calls Senate's revised healthcare bill 'unacceptable': Ohio Politics Roundup – cleveland.com

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Ohio Gov. John Kasich asserts the Senate GOP’s revised health-care bill is “still unacceptable,” drawing fire from Vice President Mike Pence and adding pressure on U.S. Sen. Rob Portman. U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan is headed to New Hampshire next month, sparking speculation about a possible presidential run. And a Franklin County leader predicts Columbus will make another attempt to host the Democratic National Convention. Today’s roundup is brought to you by Jeremy Pelzer. 

Kasich rejects revised Senate GOP healthcare bill: Ohio Gov. John Kasich announced Friday that the Senate Republicans’ latest attempt to overhaul Obamacare is “still unacceptable.” In a statement, the governor asserted that the new plan’s Medicaid funding cuts are “too deep” and that the proposal doesn’t do enough to stabilize the insurance market or give flexibility to states. Kasich: “These shortcomings flow from the fact that the Senate plan commits the same error as Obamacare — it’s not bipartisan.”

Pence calls out Kasich: Vice President Mike Pence, speaking Friday at a National Governors Association meeting in Rhode Island, said he suspects that Kasich is “very troubled to know that in Ohio alone, nearly 60,000 disabled citizens are stuck on waiting lists, leaving them without the care they need for months or even years” because of Ohio’s acceptance of Medicaid expansion funds, reports Darrel Rowland of the Columbus Dispatch.

One problem: That claim, which Pence got from a Wall Street Journal editorial earlier this month, isn’t accurate, Rowland writes. The “nearly 60,000” Ohioans Pence cited are on a list seeking Medicaid waivers, mostly for home- and community-based services for the developmentally disabled, and a Kaiser Family Foundation analysis concluded that list isn’t affected by Ohio’s acceptance of Medicaid expansion money.

Stuck in the middle: As cleveland.com’s Seth Richardson writes, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman – a key Senate swing vote on the bill – is caught “between a rock and a hard place” on the issue. Kasich’s public criticism puts pressure on the Republican senator to oppose the new proposal, but the Trump administration’s presence in the state and the president’s popularity complicate Portman’s decision. Portman will have ample time to think things over: Senate GOP leaders have delayed a vote on the bill, previously scheduled for this week, while Republican U.S. Sen. John McCain of Arizona recovers from surgery.

Ohio nursing homes worry about health-care bill: The revised healthcare proposal could slash Medicaid funding for Ohio nursing homes by as much as $800 million per year, concerning administrators and families of patients, The Plain Dealer’s John Caniglia and Jo Ellen Corrigan find. Peter Van Runkle, the executive director of the Ohio Health Care Association: “If we had to take an $800 million cut, we would have skilled-care facilities going out of business left and right.”

Tim Ryan to visit New Hampshire: U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan is slated to headline the New Hampshire Young Democrats’ Summer Cookout next month, fueling speculation about his presidential aspirations in 2020. WMUR’s John DiStaso writes the Youngstown-area Democrat “did nothing to quell such speculation in an interview,” saying, “Shaping the national debate is on my radar, and using the bullhorn that I have and that got bigger after I ran against leader Pelosi.”

Ryan added he has no interest in again challenging House Speaker Nancy Pelosi after losing a leadership vote to her last fall.

Columbus 2020? Franklin County Commissioners President John O’Grady predicts that Columbus and county officials will team up to submit a bid to host the 2020 Democratic National Convention, according to the Dispatch’s Kimball Perry. Columbus was a finalist for the 2016 DNC, which ultimately was held in Philadelphia.

Franklin County may consider bidding on the 2020 Republican National Convention as well, O’Grady said, though he suspects the GOP is unlikely to pick an Ohio city so soon after the 2016 RNC in Cleveland.

A warm-up convention? O’Grady said Columbus’ chances of landing an event such as a national convention may be helped when it hosts the 82nd annual National Association of Counties convention this weekend. Perry writes that the four-day event is expected to attract 2,000 elected county leaders from across the country, as well as an estimated $3.8 million boost to the local economy.

And then there were eight: Two abortion clinics, in Akron and Cleveland, have closed down after the doctor who operated them apparently retired for health reasons, according to cleveland.com’s Sabrina Eaton. The closures leave Ohio with eight abortion clinics – half the number of clinics that were open in the state in 2011.

And some of those eight are facing trouble of their own. Earlier this week, the State Medical Board of Ohio suspended the medical license of the doctor who owns and runs an abortion clinic in Cuyahoga Falls for signing blank prescriptions. The state is also trying to shutter clinics in Dayton and Toledo that couldn’t meet a new requirement that they have transfer agreements with nearby hospitals.

Jeff Johnson challenge heads to high court: “A challenge to City Councilman Jeff Johnson’s candidacy for mayor of Cleveland has landed before the Ohio Supreme Court,” writes cleveland.com’s Robert Higgs. On Thursday, Clevelander Ed Davila asked the court to disqualify Johnson on the grounds that he was convicted of Hobbs Act extortion in 1998. Under state law, anyone convicted of bribery can’t hold public office; Davila is arguing that Johnson’s crimes essentially amounted to bribery. In May, the Cuyahoga County Board of Elections voted 4-0 to reject Davila’s challenge.

In a related story… A potentially competitive race for Cleveland City Council’s Ward 1 seat is brewing this year, with ex-Councilman Joe Jones and 2009 mayoral candidate Kimberly F. Brown challenging incumbent Terrell Pruitt, according to Higgs. Jones resigned from council in 2005 after he pleaded guilty to a federal mail-fraud charge (which, under Ohio law, made him ineligible to hold the seat). But a Cuyahoga County judge expunged Jones’ conviction in 2015, restoring his eligibility.

Two other former members are also trying to rejoin council: Eugene Miller in Ward 10 and Nelson Cintron Jr. in Ward 14.

Coming soon on Cleveland’s Next Top Judge: Candidates for Cleveland’s next federal judge will be interviewed next month by a 28-member advisory commission, cleveland.com’s Eric Heisig reports. The commission is tasked with making a recommendation to Ohio’s two U.S. senators about who should succeed U.S. District Court Judge Donald Nugent, who took senior status on Jan. 1; the senators, in turn, will recommend a nominee to President Donald Trump.

The commission is also conducting interviews with southern Ohio lawyers and judges about filling spots vacated by retiring Columbus federal Judge Gregory Frost and Dayton federal Judge Thomas Rose, who took senior status.

Overriding concern: Even though Ohio legislators declined to vote on overriding Kasich’s veto of a budget provision to freeze Medicaid expansion, House Speaker Cliff Rosenberger says he could have gotten the required 60 votes. But as Rowland reports, such a vote “would not have come without pain,” as “there is little doubt” that fewer than 60 House Republicans wanted to override the veto.

Rowland: “Among those not cheering on a vote: Republicans facing potentially tough races next year, moderates who see value in the expansion, those who didn’t see the freeze as getting at the heart of Medicaid costs, and rural Republicans hearing from their hospitals — major employers in their regions — about damage the freeze would do.”

Union group backs Schiavoni: Democratic gubernatorial candidate Joe Schiavoni, a state senator from Boardman, picked up a hometown endorsement Thursday from the Western Reserve Building Trades Council, according to the Youngstown Vindicator. The council is composed of 23 unions in the Mahoning Valley.

Pepper’s two cents on Russia: Ohio Democratic Party Chair David Pepper has some advice for Democratic gubernatorial candidates regarding the escalating controversy over the Trump-Russia controversy: keep your eyes on the prize.

“All of that (on Russia) is going to come out, and if a politician was lacking in courage and never did anything about it, I think they will pay dearly for it, and they should,” Pepper said, according to the Associated Press. “But if you’re a governor candidate next year, you’re a lot smarter saying, ‘Here’s what I’m going to do about jobs and education and wages’ than weighing in every day on issues outside your control.”

California Dreamin’: Harley Rouda, the former executive of Columbus-based HER Realtors, is running for Congress in California, according to the Dispatch’s Jim Weiker. Rouda, a 55-year-old who grew up in suburban Columbus, is one of five Democrats hoping to unseat Republican Dana Rohrabacher in California’s 48th Congressional District.

Is Cincinnati Mayor John Cranley in danger of losing re-election? “Yes,” writes the Cincinnati Enquirer’s Jason Williams, citing political insiders who point to the Democrat’s lack of a voter base and note that the issues in the race aren’t yet firmly defined. Rival Yvette Simpson has the black vote locked down, Cranley’s declaration of Cincinnati as a “sanctuary city” upset his GOP base, and a key campaign issue from his 2013 race – opposing the city’s streetcar project – is now a non-issue. 

Cranley has overhauled his campaign staff, and his campaign strategy has moved from a focus on advertising to building up a “boots-on-the-ground” operation. He still has time to right the ship, though it remains to be seen how effective these changes will be for him.

How much money does the city of Toledo have right now? Thanks to years of illegal accounting maneuvers, it’s not clear, retired Ohio Supreme Court Justice Andy Douglas told the Toledo City Council on Thursday. Douglas, who was asked to investigate why more than $8.2 million sat in a city debt-service fund for five years, said the city’s top finance officials illegally commingled funds for years and tried the tactic as recently as last month, the Toledo Blade’s Ignazio Messina reports.

Lucas County Treasurer Wade Kapszukiewicz, who’s looking to unseat Toledo Mayor Paula Hicks-Hudson, has attacked Hicks-Hudson for being unaware that the money was sitting idle. But Douglas stressed that Hicks-Hudson did nothing wrong and was only trying to fix a problem created by the administration of the previous mayor, Mike Bell.

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