This week state executives from around the country trooped to the White House to discuss a variety of topics with the President including expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. Two GOP Governors – our own Pat McCrory and Utah’s Gary Herbert – had very different takes on what was said about Medicaid expansion. I’ve added the emphasis in the quotes below, but what is clear to me is McCrory simply ignored what the President said and the plain facts on the ground regarding Medicaid expansion.
“Regardless of how you feel about the policy, the dilemma is the execution is being put on the states with absolutely no flexibility to the 50 states’ unique needs,” he said…He said that some states were receiving Medicaid waivers, allowing them to devise their own plans, but that there was too much red tape to get them.
Then Utah’s Governor Herbert:
Gov. Gary Herbert said Monday he was encouraged after hearing President Barack Obama pledge to work with states on Medicaid expansion during a meeting with the nation’s governors in the White House….. “None of us like just being dictated to by Washington, D.C.,” the governor said in a telephone interview on his way to the airport. “So I’m encouraged by the rhetoric. Let’s hope the actions prove to be commensurate with what the tone and talk was today.”
And here’s what the President actually said:
The president promised his administration would work with governors to tailor Medicaid expansion programs in his remarks to members of the National Governors Association earlier Monday, according to a transcript released by the White House.
“States that don’t expand Medicaid are going to be leaving up to 5.4 million Americans uninsured. And that doesn’t have to happen. Work with us to get this done. We can provide a lot of flexibility,” Obama said.
States like Arkansas have shown the enormous flexibility the Obama Administration is willing to give states that decide to expand Medicaid. Arkansas is expanding Medicaid 100% through private health insurance plans! To pretend that flexibility from the federal government on Medicaid expansion is not available and extensive given examples like this flies in the face of reality. The simple truth is that conservative governors like Herbert who want to tailor a Medicaid expansion to their state will very likely be able to do so while conservative governors like McCrory will simply look even more ideological in their opposition to expanding health care for the poorest citizens in their state.