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More States Open to Medicaid Expansion

The number of state governors opposed to accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid coverage continues to dwindle. Just recently Florida Governor Rick Scott indicated his willingness to adopt the expansion after having voiced strong opposition to the idea ever since the Supreme Court’s ruling on the law allowed states to choose to opt-out of the expansion provisions.

Ever since the court’s ruling, the states led by Republican governors were largely opposed to expanding Medicaid. However, since the most recent presidential election, more and more Republican governors have changed their mind about the expansion. As states go through the process of developing their budgets for 2014 they must decide if they want to expand Medicaid by the January 1, 2014 deadline.

The healthcare law calls for any costs incurred with the expansion to be covered by the federal government for the first several years. After that states would have to pay a small portion of those costs, up to as much as 10%.

With Governor Scott now saying he is not opposed to expansion, that brings the number of Republican governors who were formally opposed and who are now open to the expansion up to at least seven.

Should all states adopt the expansion, a very unlikely prospect, an additional 16 million Americans would become covered under Medicaid. Florida has a large population, and if it does adopt the expansion 1.3 million Americans who it not been previously covered under Medicaid and who had not been able to pay for their own health care insurance would be covered.

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