Thursday, January 10, 2013

Medicaid Expansion: Not Just An Arizona Problem

Posted By on Thu, Jan 10, 2013 at 2:00 PM

In TW's print edition this week, I examined the upcoming policy fight over whether Arizona should expand its AHCCCS (or Medicaid) rolls. It would bring a lot of federal dollars to the state and ensure that more low-income Arizonans have health insurance, but some Republicans are complaining about the price tag and others just don't like the Affordable Care Act.

Arizona is not alone in trying to decide whether to expand health-care insurance for the poor. Talking Points Memo today looks at how Republican governors in various swing states are wrestling with the question:

Rejecting the Medicaid expansion, as many fellow Republican governors from red states have done, would endear them to the conservative base, which detests the Affordable Care Act.

But that would deny a huge benefit to their constituents, whose states all voted for President Obama twice. The provision would enhance Medicaid eligibility to their residents up to 133 percent of the poverty line. The federal government would cover the full cost of the new beneficiaries in the early years and 90 percent after 2020.

Internal party politics aside, it’s an enticing deal for governors, and consumer advocates are reminding them of the thousands of their constituents it would help. And what makes their decisions harder is that they cannot split the difference: the Obama administration announced last month that it would not cover partial expansions.

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