John Kasich 'Didn't Read a Bible' to Decide to Expand Medicaid

When it comes to governing, the Ohio governor says his faith is only one part of the equation.


John Kasich, governor of Ohio, greets supporters after announcing he will seek the 2016 Republican presidential nomination in Columbus, Ohio, U.S., on Tuesday, July 21, 2015.

Photographer: Luke Sharrett/Bloomberg

Republican presidential candidate John Kasich said that while his faith is important to him, Christianity was only one factor in his decision to expand Medicaid under Obamacare.

"I don't read a Bible to figure out what I think," the Ohio governor said during a Sunday appearance on CNN's State of the UnionHe went on to explain that the decision to expand Medicaid would also save the state money "by taking people out of prison an letting them get a job where they would become a taxpayer." 

Kasich also said that he felt that it was wrong to keep people with mental health issues in jail, instead of treating them. 

"I just have a heart for people who have been disabled or disadvantaged," he said. 

Kasich said his faith has also guided his philosophies on early childhood education. He refuted the idea that his attitudes toward the social safety net are uncharacteristic of a Republican. 

"I think Republicans have allowed themselves to be put in a box," he said. "To me, conservatism is giving everybody a chance to be successful."

When it comes to religion guiding policy, Kasich is by no means alone in the Republican field. At the Fox News debate earlier this month, a Facebook user asked the candidates if they had "received a word from God" on what issues to tackle if elected. 

While not all the candidates were given time to answer the question, those who did stressed the importance of religion, while offering subtle differences on how much direct influence Christianity would have during those first hypothetical days in office.  

Texas Senator Ted Cruz said, "I am blessed to receive a word from God every day in receiving the scriptures and reading the scriptures." 

Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker talked about the personal impact his faith has had, but said that "God hasn't given me a list, a Ten Commandments, if you will, of things to act on the first day." 

Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee, who has criticized the Supreme Court's ruling on gay marriage as going against "the laws of nature and nature's God," continued to press his religiously based view that no abortion exemptions should be made for cases of rape and incest. 

"When I think about one horror, I also think about the possibilities that exist," he told CNN's State of the Union.  "And I just don't want to think that somehow we discount a human life.”

Kasich, meanwhile, portrayed abortion as an issue that GOP politicians focus on too much. 

"I think (abortion) is an important issue, but I think there's many other issues that are really critical. Early childhood. Infant mortality. The environment. Education," he said. "I think we focus too much on just one issue, and now that the issue of gay marriage is kind of off the table, we're kind of down to one social issue."

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