Medicaid Expansion Almost a Certainty in Wake of Collapse of GOP Health Plan

Kansas, Virginia, Maine, and North Carolina are considering expanding their Medicaid programs as a result of the GOP’s failure last week to begin the replacement of the ACA, the Wall Street Journal reports.  

House Speaker Paul Ryan said last week after the tabling of the American Health Care Act that “we’re going to be living with Obamacare for the foreseeable future.” Lawmakers in states that had not expanded Medicaid under the ACA are now having second thoughts.

Adam Searing, a research professor at Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, tells the Wall Street Journal: “The thing that held states back was that they were going to end Medicaid expansion. Now when you have the House speaker saying this is going to stay, it’s like, ‘We may get the money, why not explore it?’”

GOP legislators in the 19 states that did not expand Medicaid under the ACA declined to so because, in many instances, they felt that the ACA represents too much of a government intrusion into the health care system.

The issue will be presented to Maine voters in a referendum next November. Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, promises to expand the program via a budget amendment.

Perhaps the most interesting back-and-forth on the issue is occurring in Kansas, where the state Senate last week voted 24-14 to expand the program so that it covers an additional 150,000 nondisabled adults. Republican Gov. Sam Brownback thinks that’s a bad idea because it gives federal tax dollars to able-bodied adults who can work. The Wall Street Journal reports Brownback as saying that “to expand Obamacare, when the program is in a death spiral, is not responsible policy.”

Source: Wall Street Journal