AHCA Failure Emboldens More States To Seek Medicaid Expansion

With the failure of the GOP’s American Health Care Act, a number of states have been made more aware of the advantages of the Medicaid expansion that is part of the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare. Not only have they been awakened to its popularity with their constituents, they are also more interested in the budgetary advantages built into the program. And this applies to red states as well as blue.

The Kansas Senate voted last night to expand Medicaid, which would mean coverage for 150,000 currently uninsured Kansans.

In Georgia, Republican Gov. Nathan Deal announced yesterday that his administration is exploring changes to the state’s Medicaid program now that the House bill has gone down.

In Virginia, meanwhile, the failure of Congress has emboldened Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe to renew his stalled crusade to expand Medicaid.

A robust debate over Medicaid is playing out this week in Arkansas, as well.

Forbes Magazine says to keep an eye on other places like North Carolina, which now has a Democratic governor. “And there may be even more states that will resurrect state legislative efforts to expand Medicaid. Before Trump was elected … Idaho, Nebraska and South Dakota were considering expansion,” notes Bruce Japsen.

“In Maine, GOP Gov. Paul LePage has vetoed several bills to expand Medicaid passed by the state’s Democratic-controlled legislature, most recently last year. But Mainers will get a chance to vote on expansion in a referendum this November,” the Huffington Post notes.

And once this popular program is expanded, it will be very hard to take away again. And even stalwart Republican governors opposed the AHCA after accepting the expansions:

Once Medicaid is expanded, it is politically very hard to take coverage away from people. Key opponents of the House GOP bill, for example, included Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder and Ohio Gov. John Kasich, two Republicans who chose to expand Medicaid. A lot of the House moderates from the Tuesday Group who helped torpedo the bill hailed from expansion states and did so because they were concerned about Medicaid recipients in their districts getting hurt.

But that’s not true in Wisconsin unfortunately. Governor Scott Walker doesn’t see the advantage to the health of the citizens of Wisconsin…nor the health of his upcoming budget…or a few rating points in the upcoming gubernatorial election that he is making every noise to indicate he is running:

With the GOP’s repeal of Obamacare stymied in Congress, Gov. Scott Walker is still rejecting the federal law and instead asking the Trump administration to let Wisconsin drug test applicants for state coverage.

Even though federal money remains available for providing health care to more Wisconsin residents, the GOP governor says he’s not reconsidering his decision to skip that and forgo hundreds of millions of dollars from federal taxpayers.

Somebody in Madison needs to start paying attention even if the governor isn’t!


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