Some Governors Oppose Medicaid Expansion Proposals
"Some governors are pushing to scale back or kill proposals to expand Medicaid to provide health-care coverage to the uninsured, raising a new challenge to President Barack Obama's effort to overhaul the system," The Wall Street Journal reports. Health care proposals in the House and Senate "would expand the program to cover at least a third of the nation's 46 million uninsured, but states are worried they would get stuck with a big part of the tab." Medicaid is "expected to be a primary topic" when a group of governors -- "including Democratic Gov. Christine Gregoire of Washington and Republican Gov. Haley Barbour of Mississippi" -- head to Washington, D.C., this week "to discuss health care with White House and congressional officials."
"In private meetings, Senate Democrats working on health care have assured the governors that the federal government will assume all the costs for the expansion at first, followed by a transition to shared responsibility. House Democrats are pressing to have the federal government take on the full cost permanently. The governors say their states aren't likely to ever return to the tax receipts they saw before the recession, much less the higher receipts they would eventually need to cover the cost of expanding Medicaid to people with incomes as high as 150% of the poverty line." The Journal reports that on CNN's "State of the Union," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., said changing the Medicaid rate would cost California between $1 billion and $5 billion a year at a time when the state is already in fiscal crisis. "Now how could I support that? ... It would take down the state" (Weisman, 6/23).
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