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Governors Urged to Adopt Medicaid Expansion by Federal Medicaid/Medicare Chief

Following the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, several state governors have declared their intention not to adopt the Medicaid expansion as provided under the law. Because the Supreme Court’s ruling essentially allowed states to opt-out of the Medicaid expansion, states have the choice to implement the expansion or not. Recently, however, the acting head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services, or CMS, wrote to Virginia Governor Bob McDonnel, urging him and other state governors to adopt the expanded coverage provisions under the healthcare law.

The acting director, Marilyn Tavener, wrote the letter in response to concerns Gov. McDonnell had raised. She detailed that states have no deadline by which they must comply with the Medicaid expansion, and that states could apply for federal funding to both expand Medicaid and implement the health-care exchanges as outlined in the affordable care act. She also stated that if states did not ultimately choose to participate in the programs they did not need to repay the money to the federal government.

The Medicaid expansion would bring about 16 million more Americans under the joint state and federal health care program because it would expand eligibility criteria, allowing more people to apply.

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