A growing number of GOP governors are reversing course and opting to expand their state's Medicaid programs to cover more low income residents under President Obama's health care law.
Michigan's Rick Snyder last week became the sixth GOP governor to agree to Medicaid expansion. Republican governors from Ohio, Arizona, Nevada, New Mexico, and North Dakota already are on board. Eleven Republican governors have rejected the idea, while a dozen others are still undecided.
The law was designed to extend health insurance coverage to more than 30 million Americans, including about 17 million under Medicaid, the health programs for the poor and disabled. But the Supreme Court ruled last summer that the states could decide whether to participate. This worried Obamacare supporters because it gave GOP governors the power to undermine the law by leaving large numbers of people uninsured, the Washington Post reports
The Medicaid expansion issue put Republican governors in a bind. They have to weigh the lure of billions of dollars in federal Medicaid funds and other economic incentives against the political consequences of supporting a law they opposed.
Under Obamacare, the federal government will pay states the full cost of expanding Medicaid coverage for the first three years. After that, the states would pay for 10 percent of the cost. In making their decisions of whether to expand Medicaid, some governors expressed concern that the federal government would not pay its share as promised, but the Obama administration has repeatedly pledged to fulfill the obligation.
The pressure isn't only from the Obama administration. Hospitals and other health providers in most states have lobbied governors to expand Medicaid because they could be disadvantaged without it. Obamacare reduced reimbursements to providers that treat lots of uninsured patients, shifting that support to funding to create millions of newly insured patients through Medicaid, the Post said.
Via the Washington Post