Five Republican governors in the South are taking advantage of the Supreme Court’s decision on the healthcare reform law to opt out of its provision for Medicaid expansion.
The group includes Rick Perry of Texas, Rick Scott of Florida, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana, Phil Bryant of Mississippi, and Nikki Haley of South Carolina, Politico
reports. The court last month overturned the part of Obamacare that allowed the federal government to withhold funding from states that refused to expand their Medicaid programs.
So while the GOP-controlled House is taking what amounts to a symbolic vote over whether to repeal Obamacare Wednesday — any repeal will be rejected by the Senate — the governors are empowered to nullify a key element of healthcare reform.
Texas and Florida alone account for 3 million — or 20 percent — of the 15 million poor people that were supposed to be added to the Medicaid rolls through Obamacare, Politico calculates.
“The bottom line here is that Medicaid is a failed program,” Perry said Monday on Fox News. “To expand this program is not unlike adding a thousand people to the Titanic.”
The move helps the governors politically in addition to being a sound policy decision, says Dave Carney, a New Hampshire-based GOP operative and long-time adviser to Perry. “It’s good politics because it’s good economics,” he told Politico. “Ultimately, it's a winning argument. It's something that will go hand in hand with the rest of the campaign in terms of congressional, gubernatorial, and presidential.”
To be sure, not all Republican governors are racing to join their five colleagues. “I think we’re wise to kind of wait and see what the results of the November election are before we jump,” Utah Gov. Gary Herbert told Politico. The election will decide “what’s going to be the face of healthcare reform going forward.”
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