5 governors declare their rebellion to Medicaid expansion as House votes against healthcare law
Gov. Rick Perry has joined four governors who say they will not expand Medicaid to cover more of the working poor in their states.
By EMILY DERUY
House Republicans voted today to repeal the Affordable Care Act just two weeks after it was upheld by the Supreme Court. Calling it the “right thing to do for our country,” House Speaker John Boehner (R.-Ohio) and other Republican leaders criticized the president’s healthcare plan.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D.-Calif.) accused Republicans of trying to take healthcare away from kids with preexisting conditions and young adults while keeping their own cushy federal health benefits.
This law is about “strengthening the middle class” and “honoring the entrepreneurial spirit of our country,” she said.
This is the 33rd time the House has elected to get rid of all or part of the healthcare law. The Washington Post has a handy roundup of all the previous votes.
While the vote is largely symbolic — the Senate has never voted to repeal the law and is not expected to — a handful of Republican governors have made a decision that will have real consequences.
Govs. Rick Perry of Texas and Rick Scott of Florida have joined three other governors who say they will not expand Medicaid to more of the working poor in their states, a central part of the law that aims to provide coverage to 15 million more Americans.
The Supreme Court ruled that states can opt out of the expansion without paying a penalty. According to a recent Politico article, if the five governors — the other three are Phil Bryant of Mississippi, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, and Nikki Haley of South Carolina — follow through on their comments, 3 million of the potential Medicaid beneficiaries will not get coverage through Obama’s healthcare law, about one in five.
Perry called Medicaid a “failed program” during a Monday appearance on Fox News, and said adding people to it amounted to “adding a thousand people to the Titanic.”
Dave Carney, a New Hampshire-based GOP operative who advised Perry for more than a decade, told Politico that it makes sense for the governors to oppose the Medicaid expansion because it fits with the Republican message of limited government.
While some governors may still come out against the Medicaid expansion — Chris Christie of New Jersey and Bob McDonnell of Virginia are possibilities — others are questioning whether it makes sense to oppose the cash that will flow into the states if they agree to Medicaid expansion.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Medicaid would cover Americans making up to 133 percent of the poverty level. The White House has estimated that up to 9 million more Latinos would be covered by the Affordable Care Act.
Texas and Florida have large Hispanic populations, and Medicaid covers one in four Latinos in the United States, as well as half the country’s Latino children. According to a 2011 report from the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), 26.5 percent of Hispanic Americans were covered by Medicaid in 2009 compared with 10.7 percent of non-Hispanic White Americans. And nearly a third of Hispanics do not have health insurance, according to the report.