The Costs of Refusing Medicaid Expansion

The pressure to fully implement the Affordable Care Act continued to build in state capitals this week as new reports showed the extent of the financial pain that both business and hospitals will feel if their states refuse to participate in the expansion of Medicaid (since the pain felt by the millions of people who would find themselves uninsured in those states was clearly not enough to win conservative support). In some states where previously opposed governors have already agreed to support expansion, conservative legislators are putting up a fight. As one analyst put it, “governors are looking at the bottom line and they’re realizing the kind of money they’d be walking away from if they don’t do this," while conservative legislators "can hang on longer to their political opposition.” Conservative state legislators seem as if they are the last line of defense for ideological opponents of Obamacare.

A new report estimates that employers in states that don't expand Medicaid will pay up to $1.3 billion in federal fines -- including $448 million for Texas employers alone. [Bloomberg]

Moody's warns hospitals will feel the pain from states refusing to expand Medicaid. [The Hill]

Maine Gov. Paul LePage is reversing his previous stance and now considering expanding Medicaid. [Portland Press Herald]

A new coalition including advocacy and health care groups is set to push for Medicaid expansion in Kansas. [AP]

Conservative legislators are fighting back against governors in their own party who want to expand Medicaid. [Bloomberg]

That includes Florida, where a state Senate committee this week rejected Gov. Rick Scott's proposal to expand Medicaid in a party line vote. [New York Times]

And Ohio, where key conservative legislators have yet to make up their minds on whether to support Gov. John Kasich's call to expand Medicaid. [Washington Post]

Progressive state Senators in Iowa are extending an offer to compromise with Gov. Terry Branstad on Medicaid expansion by including an opt-out provision. [Iowa Senate Dems]

Meanwhile, a new poll shows 70% of New Jersey voters in favor of Gov. Chris Christie's support for expanding the program. [CNN]


(This article originally appeared in the Stateside Dispatch, Progressive States Network's email roundup of the latest state policy news. Read the full Dispatch from March 16, 2013 here or sign up to receive the Dispatch in your inbox here.)