Ignoring right, red states embrace Medicaid expansion

(MSNBC)  Steve Benen, December 10, 2015 — The wall of opposition to Medicaid expansion through the ACA continues to slowly crumble.

As implementation of the Affordable Care Act has moved forward in recent years, anti-healthcare activists have recognized Congress’ limits. Republicans on Capitol Hill would love nothing more than to derail the system, but with President Obama in office, that’s not going to happen.

The right has instead focused on state-level fights, most notably Medicaid expansion through the ACA, which is a voluntary policy for governors and state legislators. If conservative groups and activists can persuade state-level Republicans to reject the policy, they can block “Obamacare” from reaching more people and prevent the uninsured rate from falling further.

And while this campaign has had some success, the wall of opposition continues to slowly crumble. This week, South Dakota’s Republican governor became the latest to endorse Medicaid expansion. The Argus Leader reported:

Tens of thousands of low-income South Dakotans could gain access to subsidized health care plans if the federal government agrees to a plan by Gov. Dennis Daugaard.

Daugaard announced a plan to expand Medicaid in the state Tuesday during an address to unveil the Republican governor’s $4.8 billion budget plan.

South Dakota’s legislature is dominated by a Republican majority, much of which is skeptical of the policy, so it’s hardly a done deal. But the fact that yet another GOP governor in a ruby-red state has embraced the ACA policy is further evidence of a growing wave.

Indeed, last week, Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead (R), a former opponent of Medicaid expansion, also reversed course and endorsed the idea as a way of reducing his state’s budget shortfall.

Source: Ignoring right, red states embrace Medicaid expansion | MSNBC