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Kasich: 'I Don't Think' Trump 'Cares Really What the Solution is' on Healthcare

Ohio Gov. John Kasich responds to reporters as he arrives at the White House in Washington on Feb. 24, 2017, for a meeting with President Trump. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

A gubernatorial GOP opponent of the Senate healthcare bill said he believes President Trump can’t be ideological on Obamacare repeal and replacement, arguing the president needs to stop counting winners and losers in order to fix healthcare.

“I don’t think he cares really what the solution is. I don’t think he’s embedded in some ideological program here. The more he’s ideological, I think, the worse he does,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich told MSNBC this morning. “…The first and foremost thing on healthcare is that people need to have it. They need to be healthy; they don’t need to go bankrupt if they get sick. And we know if people are healthy they’re more likely to work than if they are unhealthy.”

“And so my sense is that at the end he’ll sign something that will stabilize the markets, make sure that we can then head to a direction of where we can deal with the problems of rising healthcare, which is really related to one simple thing… If we practice quality and paid for quality we’d begin to rein in these driving healthcare costs,” he said. “Along with looking at all the other elements that contribute for example the rising cost of pharmaceuticals.”

Kasich, who objected to deep Medicaid cuts in the Senate bill, said he’s talked to some other governors and senators about a bipartisan effort at entitlement reform, including Medicare and Social Security. “But you have to do it with Democrats. You can’t just slam this stuff through — well, you wouldn’t get it through,” he added. “So there’s interest in this.”

The opioid addiction crisis, the governor noted, is one reason he fought for Medicaid expansion in his state and doesn’t want it “just to be yanked away.”

“We can deal with that in a reform method a little bit farther down the road as long as we give governors flexibility,” he said. “But no, I don’t think you ought to start throwing more money. With the program that’s in place now we feel we’re in a position where we can manage it.”

Kasich stressed that Trump “does best when he goes to his populist instincts rather than an ideological approach.”

“All this stuff is like Republicans lose, you know what, isn’t it a great thing that Republicans looked over the cliff and saw that there were a lot of people that were going to be hurt and they pulled back and said let’s do this in a more reasonable, rational way? Because no one in America doesn’t think those exchanges need to be fixed,” he continued.

“You know, instead of all this ‘he won, she lost,’ this, this, it’s all nonsense. Knock it off! Get this country on the right track before we end up hurting many, many people in this country because we can’t fix anything in Washington.”

Kasich later added that “we can do all this, folks, if we just knock off the ego and all the politics.”