Sarah Kliff at WonkBlog reported yesterday, White House to States: on Medicaid Expansion, It’s All or Nothing. This hasn’t been well reported, even though it is kind of interesting. But I suspect this is because it is yet more data showing that Republicans are all basically dicks.
As you probably have heard, many governors have decided that they are not going to expand Medicaid under Obamacare. Currently, all the states support everyone under a certain level of income. To get the states to do this the federal government pays about 65% of the cost. Now, the federal government is offering to pay 100% of the cost of covering everyone making up to 133% of the poverty line—for at least 3 years. There are two ways to look at why these governors are passing up this incredible deal. Maybe they really do worry about long term liabilities. But this seems unlikely. The governors could always pull out latter if the program becomes too onerous. I’m inclined to think that they are just being spiteful.
But that doesn’t mean that these governors aren’t salivating at the money Obama is dangling in front of them. So quietly they were asking if the government might be willing to meet them halfway: pay 100% of their Medicaid coverage while they only cover the people they’re already covering. It is surprising that anyone thought that the Obama administration would go for that deal. For one thing, going forward, this would put much less pressure on the states to join the Obamacare program in full. But much more important: this would simply be giving the states money for not doing what the federal government wants. It would also be a horrible signal to the states that are embracing the program. Monday, the Department of Health and Human Services came back with an answer: hell no!
The political posturing of the Republicans on this issue is evil. They are making their constituents suffer for the sake of making a political statement. What’s more: no one cares. Everyone knows that in five or ten or twenty years, every state will be fully vested in Obamacare. So all these Republican governors are doing is showing that they are small minded. I wonder if they plan to look back on their careers and think, “I really sent a message to that bastard Obama, and all I had to do was shit all over the little people!”
Shame! Shame! Shame!