By the Editorial Board | April 2, 2021
It’s a deal any state would be smart to take — but as many as a dozen might be about to say no regardless. They haven’t yet expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and are being offered enough federal money to cover the full cost, plus extra funds totaling nearly $10 billion over two years, to be spent at their discretion. The bargain would mean health coverage for 4.3 million of their most vulnerable people — enabling many of them to work, narrowing the racial health-care gap, creating new health-care jobs, and reducing hospital charity care.
The offer is part of the American Rescue Plan Act that Congress passed in early March. Politics explains why none of the 12 states has so far accepted it. The Republican governors or legislatures continue to resist, even to hate, Obamacare. Their constituents should let them know this strategy no longer works.
Voters in the recalcitrant states want Medicaid expansion. In Florida, where expanded Medicaid would insure more than 800,000 people, 73% of voters said they support it, according to The Commonwealth Fund, and that was before the stimulus act promised $3 billion in special funding. In Texas, where more than 1.5 million people could be insured and the state could receive an extra $5 billion, 67% said they favor expansion.