Roundup: GOP States Stall on Medicaid Expansion

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WASHINGTON — Last year, Missourians voted to expand Medicaid in the state, but their Republican legislators won’t comply with the voter’s decision. Missouri Republicans once again voted against Medicaid expansion in spite of the constitutional amendment telling them to do so. And they’re not alone: twelve GOP-led holdout states across the country continue to refuse to pass Medicaid expansion, even though the federal government will pick up the tab. Even in the face of overwhelming popular support, Republicans simply oppose access to health care for all their constituents. 

NPR: Missouri Legislature Tries To Back Out Of Voter-Approved Medicaid Expansion:“As many as 275,000 additional Missourians could get coverage — if there’s funding for the program. But in the deep-red state, which voted for former President Donald Trump by more than 15 percentage points in 2020, lawmakers are looking to undo the voters’ decision. As it crafts the budget for the next fiscal year, the state legislature has moved to strip funding for Medicaid expansion. Rep. Cody Smith, the Republican chair of the House Budget Committee, separated the money for expansion into its own bill, which the GOP-controlled committee voted down in March. On the floor of the House last week, Smith said, “Medicaid expansion is wrong for Missouri. I think it’s wrong for the state budget.” 

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Vos says no to plan that would provide Wisconsin with $1.6 billion for health care: “The state would reap $1.6 billion in tax savings — more than 2½ times original projections — if it provided health care to more Wisconsinites under a provision of the recently passed federal COVID relief legislation. The measure is meant to induce Wisconsin and 11 other states to follow the 38 states that have fully expanded health coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The top Republican in the Wisconsin Assembly said he won’t take the deal and no amount of federal money could get him to change his mind.”  

Texas Tribune: Texas House votes down budget amendment aimed at giving health coverage to more uninsured Texans: “The Texas House rejected an attempt Thursday to direct the governor and state health officials to use billions in federal dollars to expand health care coverage for uninsured Texans, including working poor who earn too much to qualify for Medicaid but too little to afford their own health insurance. On a vote of 80-68, lawmakers voted down the proposal, which was floated as a two-page amendment to the state budget Thursday. The debate, which was highly anticipated by advocates of expanding coverage for uninsured Texans, was expected to be heated and drawn out. It lasted less than 20 minutes.”

Wyoming Public Radio: Medicaid Expansion Fails Again: “Once again, the Wyoming legislature has rejected Medicaid expansion. Despite testimony providing overwhelming support for the measure and some federal aid to encourage more states to adopt the program, the Senate Labor and Health Committee voted three to two against the bill. The Wyoming Department of Health estimated that 25,000 state residents would have qualified for health insurance under the program. One of those was Cheyenne resident Marcie Kindred who told the committee that this is the only way many state residents can get health care. She said that’s why so many people of different backgrounds support the bill.” 

Florida Phoenix: Gov. DeSantis is saying no to Medicaid expansion, even though the massive relief package would help out: “The $1.9 trillion stimulus plan signed earlier this March provides financial incentives in the millions to expand Medicaid in the dozen or so states. But Florida isn’t buying in. In the past, governors and lawmakers in Florida have been opposed to Medicaid expansion. And Gov. Ron DeSantis is still not on board, even though the giant relief package is in place and providing incentives. According to The Washington Times, DeSantis is a “hard no” on the issue. “The governor remains opposed to the expansion of Medicaid in Florida,” DeSantis spokesman Cody McCloud said in the recent Washington Times story.” 

WBHM: Will Alabama And Mississippi Expand Medicaid To Low-Income Adults This Time Around?“Estimates show that Medicaid expansion would open up eligibility to more than 550,000 people across Alabama and Mississippi, though that number is from before the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers said it is likely higher now. A common argument against expanding Medicaid is that it’s too expensive. States have to pay 10 percent of the cost to cover new enrollees, while the federal government pays 90 percent. But the new incentive in Biden’s American Rescue Plan is a game changer, according to many supporters of expansion.” 

Georgia Recorder: Ga. GOP bets on limited Medicaid expansion despite fed’s push for more: “The uncertain status of the state’s limited expansion plan coupled with the sweetened deal from the White House has given state Democrats new fuel in their decade-long push for Georgia to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. “Y’all, come on. This is ridiculous,” state Sen. Jen Jordan, an Atlanta Democrat, said during a vote on next year’s budget. “We could cover (500,000) people in this state. We could send money to rural hospitals, we could up health care provider reimbursement rates across this state. And we’re not doing any of it.”

Kansas City Star: Kansas Medicaid expansion faces steep climb after quick rejection in first 2021 debate: “Kansas Medicaid expansion was dealt another setback Wednesday in its first formal debate this year, as lawmakers signaled that the proposal, long a Democratic priority, was unlikely to go anywhere this session.

Senate Minority Leader Dinah Sykes, a Lenexa Democrat, introduced expansion as an amendment to a bill that sought to create a certification and funding process for community mental health clinics. It also authorized out-of-state physicians to treat Kansans via telemedicine.

Kansas is one of 12 states which has not expanded Medicaid since the Affordable Care Act went into effect in 2010. A provision of the act calls for the federal government to pick up 90 percent of the additional cost of expansion. Opponents call it too expensive while advocates say the state is missing out on federal funding and leaving thousands uninsured.”

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