Majorities of voters support expanding Medicaid, but many conservatives revile it as a costly expansion of government -- and they aren't fond of being lectured by Kasich about their supposed heartlessness. "He likes quoting the Bible -- 'Thou shalt expand Medicaid,' I keep looking for that verse," John Becker, a conservative member of the Ohio House of Representative, told me. At a closed-door donor forum in Palm Springs hosted by the Koch brothers, Kasich was attacked by two fellow Republican governors, Nikki Haley and Bobby Jindal, for, in the words of a source who attended the event, "hiding behind Jesus to expand Medicaid." The source added, "It got heated."
Kasich's reputation as something of a bleeding heart could make it difficult to get through the GOP primary. Just after his recent New Hampshire foray, he met in New York with an influential group of fiscal conservatives including the former CNBC host Larry Kudlow, Reaganite economist Arthur Laffer, and the Heritage Foundation's Stephen Moore. National Review's report on the meeting, which included a testy back-and-forth on Medicaid, was headlined, "Kasich Turns Off Supply Siders in New York City."