Raleigh – Democratic Governor Laura Kelly and Republican Senate Majority Leader Jim Denning of Kansas announced on Thursday a bipartisan compromise to expand Medicaid. This makes Kansas the 37th state to expand, leaving North Carolina one of just 13 holdouts.
After yet another study proved that expanding Medicaid has improved lives, particularly in southern states, North Carolinains are left asking: if ruby-red Kansas will expand Medicaid, why won’t North Carolina Republicans?
A report prepared by researchers at the George Washington University and released last year found that every single county in North Carolina would benefit from expansion. Rural leaders and leaders of local health care systems continue to call on the General Assembly to expand Medicaid.
Meanwhile, national Republican leaders are emphatically declaring:
“The battle has been fought and lost on Medicaid expansion.”
So why are NC Republicans blocking all attempts at compromise that would create more than 37,000 new jobs and insure approximately 600,000 more people?
Republicans have their head in the sand in a desperate power play as they attempt to defend their feeble majorities in the State House and Senate. But, if Virginia and contests across the country — including state elections last year in Louisiana and Kentucky — are any indication, betting against Medicaid expansion is a mistake. Virginia holds the first Democratic trifecta in 26 years in no small part because of Democrat’s expansion of Medicaid in 2018.
As we approach the Legislative Session, Republicans have a choice: do not only the best thing for our state and economy but the moral thing as well, or face the consequences at the ballot box.
The Washington Post: Have Republicans lost the argument over the Medicaid expansion?
By Greg Sargent
January 9, 2020
- Earlier this month, it attracted almost no attention when Phil Cox, a former head of the Republican Governors Association and a well-known figure in Washington, said this: “The battle has been fought and lost on Medicaid expansion.”
- This is a Democratic governor, but Republican legislators are now participating in this compromise deal to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act. And bipartisan majorities in both state legislative chambers now support the deal.
- We’ve seen this again and again. Democrat Andy Beshear was elected governor in deep-red Kentucky (where Trump won by 30 points) in part on the issue. In Louisiana (where Trump won by 20), Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards won reelection after a campaign in which no issue was more important, according to his pollster. It also played a big role in the Democrats’ total takeover of the Virginia state legislature.
- Such referendums are another sign that it’s becoming harder for Republican legislators to stand in the way of voter support for the Medicaid expansion. After all, the logic of it is overwhelming: The federal government picks up almost the entire tab of expanding health care to enormous numbers of state officials’ own constituents.
- But in North Carolina, Democratic governor Roy Cooper — whose efforts to expand Medicaid have been tied up by Republican legislators — and Democrats are vowing to make the issue central in the 2020 statewide and legislative elections. If that produces more victories, that could portend another big breakthrough.
By Phil McCausland
January 9, 2020
- Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly, a Democrat, and Sen. Jim Denning, the state’s top Senate Republican, announced Thursday that they had come to an agreement on Medicaid expansion, which would provide the state’s working poor access to health care coverage.
- “My top priority is to lower the cost of health care for Kansans across the board,” [Republican Majority Leader Jim Denning] said.
- Approximately 130,000 Kansans are expected to enroll when the expanded Medicaid program becomes available, according to an estimate by the Kansas Health Institute, at a net cost of $520 million over 10 years.
- The report studied Montana’s choice to expand Medicaid in 2015 with bipartisan support. Since then, the uninsured rate has cut nearly in half and nearly 1 in 9 Montanans had access to health care through expansion coverage, saving the state approximately $30 million a year.