Republican Governors Press Medicaid Expansion Proposals, Despite Continued Opposition In Party
In states like Utah, Wyoming and Georgia, Republican governors are still trying to find a path forward to broadening the health care program for the poor. Virginia's governor, Democrat Terry McAuliffe, is bracing for another round with his Republican-majority legislature which has previously blocked such efforts.
Republican Governors Buck Party Tenets To Seek Expanded Medicaid
Republican governors are pressing forward to expand Medicaid even after being stymied by lawmakers in their own party. As the Obama administration vows to help develop plans that will pass muster with conservatives, the governors of Utah and Wyoming said they still want the health care program for the poor broadened. Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, who declined to act in 2013, may seek a federal waiver to make insurance available to more residents. Louisiana's Republican legislature also opened a legal door. (Niquette and Newkirk, 7/30)
The Associated Press:
McAuliffe Set For Renewed Push For Medicaid Expansion
Virginia Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe says he'll make a renewed push to expand Medicaid now that Republican primaries are over and the U.S. Supreme Court recently issued a decision upholding the Affordable Care Act. McAuliffe said Thursday in a conference call with reporters that the Republican lawmakers who have previously blocked Medicaid expansion will be more open to compromise during next year's legislative session. (Suderman, 7/30)
In Arizona, a court case could impact a funding source for the state's Medicaid expansion -
The Associated Press:
Judge Mulls Challenge To Arizona Medicaid Plan Hospital Fee
A lawyer representing 36 Republican lawmakers told a judge Thursday that keeping a hospital assessment in effect to help fund the state's Medicaid expansion would gut a voter-approved law requiring a two-thirds vote for tax increases. Christine Sandefur, of the Goldwater Institute, urged Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Douglas Gerlach to rule that the hospital assessment that became law in 2013 was unconstitutional because it passed with only a bare majority. A 1998 constitutional amendment called Proposition 108 requires tax increases to be passed by a supermajority. "The voters passed Prop 108 specifically to have it apply across the board, even in emergency situations, even programs for the poor," Sandefur told Gerlach. "And to exempt the provider tax here really creates a serious loophole. It leads the court to read two provisions contrary to each other and allows the Legislature to give ultimate discretion to an unelected, appointed administrator." (Christie, 7/30)
The Arizona Republic:
Key Question In Arizona Medicaid Fight: Is Fee A Tax?
When is a fee a tax? That question is at the heart of a case argued Thursday in Maricopa County Superior Court that will ultimately land before the state Supreme Court and could profoundly influence state policy. Depending on the outcome, it could also put the health coverage of nearly 350,000 Arizonans in peril. (Pitzl, 7/30)