State legislators impeding GOP governors who want to expand Medicaid

State legislators impeding GOP governors who want to expand Medicaid

[Ed. – AP reports this like it’s a bad thing.]

While some of these governors themselves have criticized the president’s health care law in general, they’ve come to see one component — Medicaid expansion — as too generous to reject. But they’re battling conservative lawmakers who say it’s better to turn down billions of federal dollars than to expand Medicaid under the 2010 law. …

So far, 27 states have agreed to expand Medicaid. But several more, including some with Republican governors, now want in. These governors note that their residents pay the federal taxes that fund expansions, so declining to participate amounts to subsidizing other states without receiving benefits. …

Perhaps the most aggressive GOP governor is Bill Haslam of Tennessee, who won re-election in November. Meeting with newspapers and others, Haslam now says Medicaid expansion is “morally and fiscally the right thing to do.” …

Some top Republican lawmakers have praised Haslam’s idea. But others vow to fight it, calling the governor’s tweaks meaningless. State Sen. Brian Kelsey says Tennessee voters elected Republicans to shrink government, not expand it. …

In Wyoming, Gov. Matt Mead opposed Medicaid expansion during his first term but now says it would save the state money and provide needed insurance to poor people. …

Alaska’s new independent governor-elect Bill Walker and North Carolina’s Republican Gov. Pat McCrory also face serious GOP legislative opposition to their ideas for expanding Medicaid. Virginia’s Republican-controlled legislature has thwarted Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s repeated expansion efforts.

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