Friday, March 08, 2013

2 Republican governors struggling to sell Medicaid expansion to party members in their legislatures

Republican governors in Florida and Arizona are having a hard time convincing legislators to accept their proposed expansions of Medicaid under President Obama's health-care law, reports Tom Howell Jr. of the Washington Times.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer
Howell writes that a legislative committee in Florida rejected Gov. Rick Scott's decision, while Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer held a rally with doctors and nurses on Tuesday to try to build support ahead of a showdown with her Republican-dominated Legislature.

"But in embracing an expansion of the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled, Mr. Scott is in the awkward position of taking a more liberal stance than some Republican legislators on health reforms he once lambasted," Howell writes. "Those who have accepted an expansion say the federal funds are too important to pass up, while those who have rejected the money say they fear the strings attached and the long-term costs."

There is no deadline to accept or decline Medicaid expansion, which would give benefits to those in households with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Howell notes, "The federal government will pay for 100 percent of the expansion in 2014-2016 before scaling back its contribution to 90 percent" by 2020.

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