Obama To States: Expand Medicaid

By John Celock

In the wake of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling Thursday to uphold the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama is calling on more state governments to expand Medicaid.

Obama used a speech at the White House to call on state governments in 21 remaining states to expand Medicaid under the ACA. Under the federal health care law, the federal government will fund most of the state’s Medicaid expansion. Nineteen states have decided against the Medicaid expansion, while 30 and the District of Columbia have expanded the program. Two states – Utah and Alaska – have not made a decision on the expansion.

“I am going to work as hard as I can to convince more governors and state legislatures to take advantage of the law and put politics aside and expand Medicaid and cover their citizens,” Obama said.

The states that have expanded the Medicaid program under the ACA include several Republican dominated states that crafted programs receiving waivers from the federal government. Last year, then Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer (R) worked with Democrats in her state legislature to expand the program over opposition of conservatives in her own party.

Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling was greeted by opposition from Republicans in Congress who continued to call for the repeal of the health care law.

“We still have states out there for political reasons are not covering millions of people that they could be covering despite the fact that the federal government is picking up the tab,” Obama said.