Medicaid expansion has some GOP governors saying "I told you so"

Due to the unexpected surge in Medicaid enrollment and associated fiscal fears, some GOP governors who were against its expansion have zero regrets, according to Politico.

With more than 12 million new Medicaid enrollees since January 2014, states like Illinois, Washington, Kentucky and Michigan are enrolling hundreds of thousands of residents beyond initial projections, according to the report.

Washington, for example, had 535,000 new Medicaid enrollees by March, blowing by its projection of 190,535 for March and its January 2018 projection.

Critics believe the expansion — which extends Medicaid to childless adults within 138 percent of the poverty line — will be too large a fiscal burden for states when the federal government cuts back to cover just 90 percent of costs beginning in 2016.

Republican Gov. Rick Scott of Florida told Politico the expansion would cost Florida taxpayers $5 billion over 10 years. Gov. Scott and 20 other governors have not expanded Medicaid in their states. Many supporters of the expansion are calling out these governors for keeping healthcare from their poorest residents. They also point out the benefits of increased healthcare enrollment, including better access to healthcare and job creation.

However, some GOP governors, like Utah's Republican Gov. Gary Herbert, may still be figuring how much they can afford to expand Medicaid, according to the report. "We're trying to cover as many people as we can afford," he told Politico. "Is it 90,000 or 110,000 people? I don't know what that's going to work out to be right now."

The attention has also led many un-enrolled but previously eligible Americans to seek Medicaid coverage, so that even states that did not expand coverage reported increased Medicaid enrollment, according to the report.

 

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