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Missing Voices: Medicaid-expanding Republican Governors

Posted by John McDonough  September 22, 2013 10:34 PM

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So it looks increasingly as though this coming weekend, Washington DC will reach yet another futile fiscal Armageddon, resulting in the second federal government shutdown ever (the first instigated by the Newt Gingrich Congress in 1995), this time as a result of Republican efforts to defund the Affordable Care Act/Obamacare. If that were not enough, we may well have another round in late October over raising the federal debt ceiling.

Following these developments, I have noticed that there is one group of influential and important figures from whom we have heard nothing. I refer to Republican governors who have embraced the ACA's Medicaid expansion beginning on January 1 2014. I am talking especially about these folks:

Jan Brewer, Arizona
Chris Christie, New Jersey
Jack Dalrymple, North Dakota
Susana Martinez, New Mexico
Brian Sandoval, Nevada
Rick Snyder, Michigan

John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Scott of Florida might also be mentioned, though unlike the others, they have thus far been unable to convince their legislatures to go along with the Medicaid expansion. But the six above endorsed the expansion, won agreement from their respective legislatures, built the expansion and resulting huge federal financial participation into their fiscal year 2014 state budgets, and have been busy preparing for implementation. They each invested substantial personal political capital to win approval of the expansion, not because it was good for Obama, but because it was good for their respective states.

One of the primary Congressional Republican attacks on the Medicaid expansion is that, of course, you can't count on Washington DC to keep its promises. Seems as though the Republicans now are out to prove it themselves.

I wonder how these Governors feel about their Congressional colleagues working to shut down the federal government and to default on the nation's debt to prevent their states from getting federal dollars to honor the states' decisions to expand Medicaid to the nation's neediest uninsured?

Maybe someone should ask them?

This blog is not written or edited by or the Boston Globe.
The author is solely responsible for the content.

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About the author

John E. McDonough is a professor of practice at the Harvard School of Public Health. He is the author of the book “Inside National Health Reform”, published in 2011 by More »


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