KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Opinions On State Medicaid Expansion: More GOP Governors Should Follow Lead Of Brewer And Scott; Va. Compromise A ‘Fiasco’

Debate rages over state officials' decisions on whether to participate in the health law program.

USA Today: All States Need To Expand Medicaid
This month, Republican Governors Jan Brewer (Ariz.), John Kasich (Ohio) and most recently Rick Scott (Fla.) decided to accept the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, bringing billions of dollars of federal funding to their states and ensuring access to medical care for thousands of their most vulnerable citizens. Republican governors of the more than 15 states still refusing to participate would do well to follow suit (Dhruv Khullar, 2/23).

The Wall Street Journal: A Cavalier Fiasco
There's one thing uglier than a Democratic tax-and-spend spree. A Republican one. … [Virginia Gov. Bob] McDonnell even cut an 11th-hour deal with Democrats over the expansion of Medicaid under ObamaCare. Last Wednesday Mr. McDonnell issued a press release declaring: "I cannot and will not support consideration of an expansion of Medicaid in Virginia until major reforms are authorized and completed, and until we receive guarantees that the federal government's promises to the states can be kept without increasing the immoral national debt." Two days later, to secure Democratic votes on his tax increase, he agreed to let a bicameral commission decide if the state will expand Medicaid (2/24).

Times Richmond-Dispatch: Sequester Medicaid
The federal government, Democratic politicians and liberal interest groups have been pushing states to expand their Medicaid rolls. (Florida Gov. Rick Scott, a Republican who was a fierce critic of Obamacare, is the latest to cave under pressure.) To sweeten the pot, Washington is picking up nearly the entire tab for such expansion. If every state goes along, the estimated cost would be roughly $1 trillion over the next nine years. By a remarkable coincidence, the grand total of all the sequestration cuts comes to $1.2 trillion over the next 10 years. In other words, nearly the entire sequestration bill could be paid for simply by refraining from going forward with the Obama administration’s plan to expand Medicaid (2/25).

Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Florida Governor's About-Face On Medicaid Expansion
The Affordable Care Act says the federal government will pay 100 percent of the cost of expanded coverage for three years beginning in 2014. After that, the bill says the feds would cover 95 percent of the cost. That's where Florida's (Gov. Rick) Scott left himself an escape plan. He said his state would join in "while the federal government is committed to paying 100 percent." (Texas Gov. Rick) Perry has sought federal dollars for many uses -- think disaster aid, for example. Federal taxes paid by Texans stay unchanged, but more comes back for their benefit. It would be the same with expanded Medicaid (Mike Norman, 2/22).

The Washington Post: GOP Governors Make Peace With Obamacare
The about-face by (Florida Gov. Rick) Scott, the seventh Republican governor to accept Obama's expansion of government-funded health care for the poor, is a crucial validation of the president's signature initiative. In his announcement, Scott made a moral case for the Medicaid expansion as compelling as the law's proponents ever made (Dana Milbank, 2/22).

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