Obamacare: Civil War Among GOP Governors


Republican lawmakers are at odds over the ACA and their states’ health coverage.

After Senate Republicans set the wheels in motion Thursday to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), Republican state governors and GOP lawmakers in Washington find themselves at odds over whether to protect their states’ health coverage under the law.

In an analysis by Politico, the governors are quoted as saying that the healthcare law does have its flaws, but shouldn’t be dubbed a total failure. The majority of these Republicans’ criticism is focused on some faults of coverage under private plans, but many actually support the idea of expanding Medicaid coverage to millions of low-income individuals by using federal funds.

At least five of 16 Republican governors are pro-expansion and even warn their GOP peers in Washington of “disastrous consequences” if the law is repealed without a replacement that keeps an estimated 22 million people newly insured: Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder, Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval, and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.

Hutchinson told House GOP leaders Wednesday he’d like to keep Obamacare’s federal funding for expanded Medicaid provided he had the flexibility to run it.

“Massachusetts believes strongly in healthcare coverage for its residents,” wrote Baker in a letter to the Republican leadership.

According to Snyder, he’s long defended Michigan’s Medicaid expansion to his state’s congressional delegation and Trump’s administration.

Sandoval outlined in depth ways Obamacare had benefitted Nevada, warning Republicans about nixing the law.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is fighting the good fight to extend Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion to working-age adults without kids and disabilities. “There’s room for improvement, but to repeal and not to replace, I just want to know what’s going to happen to all those people who find themselves left out in the cold,” Kasich said during a press conference last week.

While other GOP governors have also worked to expand Medicaid, Kasich has landed coveted headlines with his accusations that expansion critics have let poor people die.

More Republican governors might even submit written proposals to GOP lawmakers in Washington.

Lobbyists believe Republics aim to transform Medicaid from an entitlement to a block grant, potentially capping the federal government’s investments and giving leaders more flexibility to use the money. Some GOP governors support the approach, while many oppose it, concerned that it would not guarantee all eligible candidates to get benefits.

Since Democrats currently have limited power in Congress, these GOP advocates could soften the blow when molding an Obamacare replacement. Signs point to a possible hearing: Rep. Chris Collins — liaison between the House and the incoming Trump administration – said Republican lawmakers will speak to four or five expansion-state governors in an attempt to address their concerns.

The article, “GOP governors fight their own party on Obamacare,” was published on Politico.

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