The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio on September 21, 2017 · A5
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The Cincinnati Enquirer from Cincinnati, Ohio · A5

Cincinnati, Ohio
Issue Date:
Thursday, September 21, 2017
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THE ENQUIRER /// THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 2017 5A CINCINNATI.COM FACEBOOK.COM/ENQUIRER @ENQUIRER NEWS DIRECTOR: MICHAEL KILIAN, MKILIAN@ENQUIRER.COM A high-profile Greater Cincinnati elected official has filed a restraining order against one of his own constituents for be- ing, well, annoying. OK, really annoying. But so what? Being annoyed is no reason for Clermont County Commissioner David Uible to file a restraining or- der banning open-government ad- vocate Chris Hicks from the county administration building. For months, Hicks has been con- sistently dogging Uible over his lack of transparency on an idea to use taxpayer money to build a practice facility for FC Cincinnati. But nothing indicates Hicks has even come close to physically threat- ening or verbally abusing Uible, the Republican president of the board of commissioners. Nothing in court documents. Nothing in a plethora of YouTube videos Hicks has posted. Nothing in a bunch of emails Hicks has sent to Uible, who in his court filing said he’s “very concerned about my welfare with this man who seems delusional and a textbook psychotic.” David L. Hudson Jr., a lawyer with the Nashville, Tennessee-based First Amendment Center, told Politics Extra he’s never heard of a public official doing this. “It’s troubling,” said Hudson, who teaches law at Vanderbilt and has written 30 books on First Amendment rights. “It’s like you’re being retaliated against for exercising what ought to be the pub- lic’s right to know.” Uible’s move could create a “chill- ing effect,” Hudson added. Other citizens could see what’s happened to Hicks and be scared away from seek- ing public records for fear of govern- ment retaliation. Sure, Hicks is admittedly “persis- tent” and seems to have way too much time on his hands. He’s a gnat constantly buzzing in Uible’s ear. But that doesn’t preclude him from hav- ing a right to know the government’s business. It’s time to man up and grow some thicker skin, Commissioner Uible. Public scrutiny is what Uible signed up for when the New Richmond buf- falo farmer took the oath of office in 2012. Uible also signed up for a job that requires him to be transparent. So it’s time to do that, too, Commish. Politics Extra is a column looking inside Greater Cincinnati and Ohio politics. Follow Enquirer political col- umnist Jason Williams on Twitter @jwilliamscincy and send email to Time for politico to ‘man up,’ be transparent Restraining order against constituent seems to have stemmed for behavior that’s annoying – not illegal David Uible PROVIDED/JOHN WALTERS It’s time to man up and grow some thicker skin. ... Public scrutiny is what Uible signed up for when (he) took the oath of office in 2012. JASON WILLIAMS Politics Extra WASHINGTON - Republican Sen. Rob Portman said Tuesday he’s open to a new Affordable Care Act re- placement bill – even though the last-ditch GOP proposal does not include several key provisions he advocated for earlier this summer. At issue is legislation, introduced by Sens. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., and Bill Cassidy, R-La., that would keep most of the “Obamacare” taxes in place, but return that revenue to the states as block grants. The bill would nix many of the Obamacare regulations — including the individual and employer man- dates — and allow states to design their own health care systems. States could, for example, bypass protec- tions for those with pre-existing conditions by letting insurance com- panies charge sick patients more than they currently can under Oba- macare's consumer protections. In a call with reporters on Tues- day, Portman said he was still re- viewing the bill but liked the concept of returning power and money to the states. “Giving the states more flexibility is something I generally have been supportive of,” said Portman, who opposed earlier GOP repeal and re- place proposals. “It’s very different than the other bills.” Portman said increased funding for opioid addiction treatment was critical to win his support for any GOP replacement bill. The Graham-Cassidy bill does not include any new opioid money. Portman, of Terrace Park, said earlier GOP proposals did not do enough to create a “soft landing” for those who might lose Medicaid cov- erage under Ohio’s expansion. That expansion has helped about 700,000 Ohioans — including many suffering from mental health disorders and opioid addiction—get access to health care and treatment. The new legislation would also phase out Medicaid expansion — immediately blocking new states from expanding Medicaid and halt- ing the existing state expansions in 2020. Instead, states would receive a block grant, through 2026, to devise their own way of helping residents who received Obamacare coverage either through Medicaid or with private insurance subsidies. The Graham-Cassidy legislation would also change the way tradition- al Medicaid is funded. Instead of reimbursing states for most of the cost of caring for Medicaid recipi- ents, the federal government would send states a per capita allotment with limited growth. In a tweet, Ohio Gov. John Kasich said the bill would eliminate “the guardrails that protect some of the most vulnerable among us.” Kasich, who has been an outspoken critic of the GOP’s push to repeal Obamacare, said Republicans should drop the partisan approach and work with Democrats on consensus solutions. Portman said that under the Gra- ham-Cassidy proposal, Ohio would be able to continue its expansion of Medicaid — or phase that out — de- pending on what the next governor and state legislators decide is best. He seemed to dismiss questions about how the state would do that with less money. He said it’s not clear yet whether Ohio would be more funding, or less, under the Graham-Cassidy proposal. “I am reviewing it still, because I want to make sure the numbers work for Ohio,” Portman said. “We can’t just throw in the towel and do nothing,” Portman added. Sen. Rob Portman has said he’s open he’s open to a new Affordable Care Act replacement bill – even though the last-ditch GOP proposal does not include several key provisions he advocated for earlier this summer. J. SCOTT APPLEWHITE, AP Portman open to latest ACA replacement effort DEIRDRE SHESGREEN AND ELIZA COLLINS USA TODAY

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