Many of us who followed the developments surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act are aware that one of the focus points was the expansion of eligibility for Medicaid. Initially destined for all of the states, the Supreme Court ruled that since states were part of the financial equation they could choose to participate in the expansion or not. And that is exactly what happened here in the State of Wisconsin as Governor Walker stuck to his ideology with an eye on his presidential campaign, turned it down.
The Affordable Care Act has two main components for expanding coverage: subsidized private health insurance available in all 50 states, and an optional Medicaid expansion that has been accepted by 31 states and the District of Columbia. Those two components of the health law cover more than 20 million people.
But not every Republican governor was quite so shortsighted. One of those being former GOP presidential candidate and current Governor of Ohio, John Kasich. As a matter of fact, Governor Kasich has been in Washington to inform Congress that eliminating the Medicaid expansion would be a big mistake:
“I think there are some very conservative Republicans in the House who are going to say just get rid of the whole thing. And that’s not acceptable,” he said.
He added: “Republicans can go and do what they want, and I’m going to talk to them. But at the end of the day I’m going to stand up for the people that wouldn’t have the coverage if they don’t get this thing right. And I happen to believe that the best way to get this right over time is for actually both parties to work together. I know that’s considered an impossibility now, but what’s at stake is not some political thing. What’s at stake here are 20 million Americans.”
Governor Kasich met with the President Trump and Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price about the issue and voiced his displeasure on the possibility of Medicaid being cut back:
With congressional Republicans hoping to scrap the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, and replace it with a substitute, Kasich has mounted an effort to retain a key feature that expanded eligibility for Medicaid coverage, the joint federal and state program that provides health coverage to low-income people.
…Kasich said in a video posted on his Facebook page that he was “expressing my concerns and some of the ideas I think (that) can allow us to reform the health-care system, save some money, but yet make certain that people who need coverage that they’re going to be able to receive the coverage that they need.”
“All in all a lot of work, but it’s worth it if we can have this come out in the right place,” Kasich said in the video posted by his staff. “I cannot predict the future. But we are certainly doing everything we can do.”
It will certainly be interesting to see if the electeds in Washington will actually heed the advice of a GOP governor who has to govern a state and who is trying to be responsible to his citizens!