State of the Debate

Debate: Medicaid expansion rides again ...

First Published      Last Updated Mar 28 2017 12:32 pm

Obamacare is what we have to work with. Fix it. — Salt Lake Tribune Editorial

" ... For seven years, the Republicans who rule this state without significant opposition have been so obsessed with their dislike for the Democratic president's signature legislation that they have left what now amounts to some $940 million in federal Medicaid funds on the table.

"They chose that rather than play along with a plan to spare many of the state's lower-income households a life without the kind of access to health care that all residents of civilized nations have long taken for granted. Rather than boost the state's health care sector. Rather than receive millions that would make significant dents in the state's homelessness, addiction and criminal justice problems.

"Four years ago, Gov. Gary Herbert put forward a workable alternative called Healthy Utah which, he hoped, would be unique and business-oriented enough to be approved. The Legislature blocked it, arguing, among other things, that it was unwise to hitch Utah's wagon to Obamacare's star because it would be going away, if not soon, then at least whenever a Republican entered the White House.

"Now that we have all been disabused of that fantasy, it is time to dispose of some other fairy tales as well. ...

Republicans for Single-Payer Health Care — David Leonhardt | The New York Times

"Without a viable health care agenda of their own, Republicans now face a choice between two options: Obamacare and a gradual shift toward a single-payer system. The early signs suggest they will choose single payer.

"That would be the height of political irony, of course. Donald Trump, Paul Ryan and Tom Price may succeed where left-wing dreamers have long failed and move the country toward socialized medicine. And they would do it unwittingly, by undermining the most conservative health care system that Americans are willing to accept.

"You've no doubt heard of that conservative system. It's called Obamacare. ..."

New momentum for Medicaid expansion, as more Republicans conclude Obamacare won't get repealed — James Hohmann | The Washington Post

" ... Paul Ryan promised his donors yesterday that he will keep pushing to overhaul the health care system this year, despite his failure last week. But in the 19 states that never expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the calculus has quickly changed.

"A lot of state legislators, including Republicans, are putting more stock in what the Speaker said Friday, that Obamacare will be the law of the land for the foreseeable future.

"The bill that was being considered in the House would have phased out the expansion under the 2010 law, which has already grown the Medicaid rolls by more than 11 million people. It could have left states holding the bag over the next couple of years.

"With Obamacare repeal less likely, opponents of expansion in the states have just lost their best argument. ...

In Health Bill's Defeat, Medicaid Comes of Age — Kate Zernike, Abby Goodnough and Pam Belluck | The New York Times

" ... Medicaid now provides medical care to four out of 10 American children. It covers the costs of nearly half of all births in the United States. It pays for the care for two-thirds of people in nursing homes. And it provides for 10 million children and adults with physical or mental disabilities. For states, it accounts for 60 percent of federal funding — meaning that cuts hurt not only poor and middle-class families caring for their children with autism or dying parents, but also bond ratings. ..."

Lawmakers in deep-red Kansas just voted to expand Medicaid — Jose A. DelReal and Sandhya Somashekhar | The Washington Post

" ... The Kansas state Senate voted 25 to 14 Tuesday to expand Medicaid — the state-federal program for the poor — extending eligibility to about 150,000 additional low-income people. The measure, which passed the House last week, succeeded with the support of all the Democrats in the legislature as well as a number of newly elected moderate Republicans who campaigned on a promise to broaden the program.

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