Several states led by Republican governors or GOP legislatures are still balking at Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act despite new life to increase coverage for the poor after their party’s failed “repeal-and-replace” attempt on the ACA.
Efforts to expand Medicaid have died in at least four states after state legislatures in Kansas and Virginia couldn’t overcome GOP opposition last week. And in Georgia and Idaho, legislatures adjourned without considering Medicaid expansion proposals . Meanwhile, South Dakota’s Republican governor refused to call a special session to consider Medicaid expansion , media reports there say.
“Every taxpayer should know that we have forfeited $10.4 billion . . . we could bring back to Virginia, at no obligation to the state, to help 400,000 Virginians get healthcare,” Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a Democrat, said last week after the Republican-controlled state assembly rejected a budget amendment that would have expanded Medicaid.
Virginia and Kansas were among the 19 states yet to expand Medicaid that renewed efforts. But these states either fell short or are running out of time to consider Medicaid expansion spring legislative sessions wind down. In Kansas last week, an effort to override Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s veto failed by just three votes. The measure would’ve expanded Medicaid to about 150,000 Kansans.
Though Medicaid expansion in these states has been tried before, it became a little less futile after the GOP-led Congress’ disastrous attempt to repeal and replace the ACA, also known as Obamacare. Pushed by House Speaker Paul Ryan, the American Health Care Act, also known as Trumpcare, would’ve rolled back the ACA’s Medicaid expansion and put restrictions on states that expanded such coverage.
But Ryan’s effort, which was endorsed by the Donald Trump White House, wasn’t even brought to a vote because of opposition from their fellow Republicans. Trumpcare would have led to 14 million fewer Americans with insurance by 2018 and eventually 24 million would lose coverage by 2026.
Already, about 11 million Americans have gained coverage from Medicaid expansion in 31 states and the District of Columbia under the ACA.