KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Some Red States Wavering On Opposition To Medicaid Expansion

This week, Florida Gov. Rick Scott, one of the fiercest critics of this health law provision, reversed his position and said he would proceed with the expansion. But he's not the only one, and, according to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, it's because the idea is just "too good to pass up."

The New York Times: Governors Fall Away In GOP Opposition To More Medicaid
Under pressure from the health care industry and consumer advocates, seven Republican governors are cautiously moving to expand Medicaid, giving an unexpected boost to President Obama's plan to insure some 30 million more Americans (Goodnough and Pear, 2/21).

NBC News: Red State Medicaid Expansion No Shock, Policy Experts Say
Florida governor Rick Scott created a stir this week when he said he'd expand Medicaid as requested by the Obama administration -- even though he plans to defy the health reform law as much as he can. But health policy experts are hardly surprised. They say it's a no-brainer for even the reddest states to take the federal government up on its offer to pay for the expansion for the first few years. That doesn't mean all Republican governors will do it, however. A lot, they say, depends on what concessions these governors can get out of the Health and Human Services Department in return. "It's a lot of money when the feds pick up the tab for the first three years,” said Sarah Hale, who directs health policy at the right-leaning American Action Forum (Fox, 2/21).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: HHS Secretary Sebelius Says States Are Finding Medicaid Expansion Too Good To Pass Up
A day after Florida's Republican governor endorsed a key part of the federal health care overhaul, the Obama administration says it's encouraged by the progress. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius says that states are deciding the Medicaid expansion is, quote, "simply too good to pass up" (2/21).

National Journal: Florida Governor's Embrace Of Medicaid Money Undercuts GOP Attacks On 'Obamacare'
Bashing "Obamacare" just isn't what it used to be. Just over two years ago, the rallying cry against President Obama's health care overhaul unified Republicans and hoisted the party to historic electoral gains in state capitals and in Washington (Reinhard and Sanger-Katz, 2/21).

Los Angeles Times: Brown May Forge Alliance With GOP Governors On Health Plan
When Gov. Jerry Brown meets with the nation's other governors this weekend in Washington, D.C., he will find common ground with some unlikely counterparts on an unlikely issue: President Obama's healthcare plan. Among the governors now moving nearly as aggressively as Brown to implement the federal healthcare law are conservatives who have long fought to unravel it. They are finding that they cannot afford to pass up Obama's offer of billions of dollars in federal aid to cover expansion of their Medicaid programs for the poor (York, 2/21).

PBS Newshour: Republican Governors Rethink Opposition To Medicaid Expansion (Video)
At first, many Republican governors actively opposed expanding the Medicaid program and said they would not participate. Now, some of them, including Florida Gov. Rick Scott, have reconsidered. Judy Woodruff talks to Paul Howard of the Center for Medical Progress at the Manhattan Institute and Ron Pollack of Families USA (2/21).

Marketplace: The Medicaid Question: To Expand Or Not Expand (Audio)
Florida’s Gov. Rick Scott is now urging his state to expand Medicaid under President Obama's health care overhaul, a significant policy shift after it was Scott who helped lead the charge against the new health care law. But the question states like Florida aren't facing isn't just a political one -- it's economic as well. Think about it: Washington picks up the tab on expanding Medicaid for the first three years, what’s not to love about that? Starting next year, individuals and families who earn up to 133 percent of the federal poverty level -- about $25,000 for a family of three -- will become eligible for Medicaid. And the government will pick up 100 percent of the tab (Gorenstein, 2/21).

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