States Wary of Medicaid Expansion

Five governors opposed expanding program under healthcare reform and 26 have yet to decide.

Governors in five states say they oppose expanding their Medicaid programs under President Barack Obama’s health-care overhaul, and another 26 haven’t decided, an option created by a U.S. Supreme Court ruling that may prevent millions of low-income Americans from obtaining insurance.

Governors of Florida, Louisiana, Iowa, South Carolina and Mississippi object, saying they’re concerned rising health-care costs may force tax increases or cuts to services, even as the federal government is promising to cover all the added Medicaid costs in the first three years and 90 percent after that. The federal reimbursement is about 59 percent now, on average.

Democratic Governors

The three Democrats are Jay Nixon in Missouri, John Hickenlooper in Colorado and Earl Ray Tomblin in West Virginia. Republican governors include Rick Perry of Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin.

Rejecting Expansion

Governors will have difficulty rejecting Medicaid expansion as they face pressure from constituents, said I. Glenn Cohen, a professor at Harvard Law School in Cambridge, Massachusetts, who specializes in health issues.

U.S. Contribution

Congress may reduce the federal government’s contribution, said Dean Clancy, legislative counsel and vice president for health policy at FreedomWorks, a Washington nonprofit that supports Tea Party groups.

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