The state leaders gathered for the National Governors Association winter meeting but were stymied over the problem of how to handle Medicaid. They want to make sure a repeal of the health law doesn’t penalize states that took billions of dollars in federal funds to expand the program.
Governors gathered Saturday to discuss health-care policy said they didn’t reach a consensus on the future of the Medicaid program, an issue hamstringing Republicans’ bid to alter the Affordable Care Act. The governors’ meeting came at a key moment in the debate over the future of the health law, which Republicans have pledged to overturn. The party controls the White House, the Senate, the House of Representatives and 33 state governorships.
The governors are split on whether to ask Congress to preserve the federal funding boost Obamacare made available to cover millions of additional low-income adults and broader structural changes. “We’re working through many different ideas,” said Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, one of about a dozen governors trying to craft a compromise. Fallin, whose state did not expand its program, said it would be “very challenging” for her to revamp the program if Oklahoma winds up with less federal money than it currently gets.
Tensions emerged Saturday between Democratic and Republican U.S. governors over a GOP-led proposal for a major overhaul to Medicaid, with Democrats saying the changes would take away people’s health coverage to finance tax cuts for the wealthy. GOP governors intend to present Congress with a plan that they say would give states more flexibility to administer health coverage for poorer residents while protecting states from absorbing the costs of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Democratic governors said Saturday that their Republican counterparts were being dishonest about the effects of their plan.
A group of governors huddled Saturday with Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price in Washington to air their concerns on Medicaid and the effort to repeal Obamacare. … Price only briefly talked about his meeting Saturday as he dashed out of the room, surrounded by staffers, calling it “a good, candid exchange.” The Health and Human Services Department later said in a release that “they discussed real, positive solutions.” Governors said afterward that much of the focus was on how to treat states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and those that didn’t fairly.
On a frigid morning here, Nancy Godinez was piling bread and other staples into her car outside a food pantry. She had lost her job as a custodian, her unemployment checks had run out, and her job search had proved fruitless. One thing she still had was health insurance, acquired three years ago after Arkansas’ Republican-controlled legislature agreed to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The coverage, she said, has allowed her to get regular checkups and treatment for tendinitis in her foot. But unless she finds a new job, Ms. Godinez, 55, could be at risk of losing her insurance, too.