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Voters in 3 Red States Approve Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion, Bringing Total to 36

| November 13, 2018

More than two-thirds covered, but not in Florida. (Eric)

Voters in three red states — Idaho, Nebraska and Utah — bucked their own Republican legislatures last week and approved the expansion of Medicaid, extending medical benefits to tens of thousands of low-income residents.

In Montana, which also had a citizen-initiated ballot question to continue funding past 2019, the initiative failed. The initiative would have made permanent the Medicaid expansion, which the legislature passed on a temporary basis in 2015. Advocates say they’ll push to keep funding in place legislatively.

Florida under Gov. Rick Scott repeatedly blocked Medicaid expansion.

Medicaid expansion was a key component of the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare, which Congressional Republicans have unsuccessfully tried to repeal. The fight over the ACA revealed how the law has gained popularity in the years since passage.

“Nebraskans wanted action,” Nebraska Sen. Adam Morfeld of Lincoln, a Democrat, who helped organize the Insure the Good Life drive and served as a consultant to it, told the Omaha World-Herald. “They provided action.” The measure will extend benefits to nearly 90,000 people in that state.

In Idaho, where 91,000 would gain coverage, the initiative passed with over 60 percent of the vote. It had the support of the Republican governor, Bruce Otter.

That was not the case in either Nebraska or Utah, where Republican governors opposed expansion. The Democratic governor of Montana, Steve Bullock, supported the measure there. In Utah, 150,000 would gain access.

With those three states added to the list, 36 states plus Washington, D.C., have all approved Medicaid expansion, likely adding pressure on the remaining states to do so. Last year, Maine became the first state where voters, as opposed to governors or legislatures, decided to expand Medicaid as originally laid out in the ACA.

That legislation, passed in 2010, required all states to extend Medicaid benefits to all adults earning up to 38 percent above the federal poverty line, which translates to an annual income of $16,753 or less. It required states that didn’t already do so, to extend Medicaid beneficiaries to low-income, childless and non-disabled adults.

But while upholding the ACA, the U.S. Supreme Court in 2012 gave states the option of opting out of Medicaid expansion.

In Montana, Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock in 2015 signed legislation expanding Medicaid, but that law sunsets next July. Uncertain that the Republican legislature would again pass expansion, Montana proponents gathered enough signatures to put an initiative on Tuesday’s ballot that would make the expansion permanent.

Medicaid, the health plan for the poor, is jointly financed by the federal and state governments. For new beneficiaries under Medicaid expansion, the federal match will be 93 percent in 2019 and 90 percent thereafter with the states responsible for the rest. For the regular Medicaid population, the federal match differs among states, but in no case is it less than 50 percent.

Studies have found that Medicaid expansion has produced jobs, particularly in the health care field, reduced the uninsured rate and increased economic security of low-income Americans.

–Michael Ollove, Stateline

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12 Responses for “Voters in 3 Red States Approve Obamacare’s Medicaid Expansion, Bringing Total to 36”

  1. Really says:

    Dont worry no need The Donald Care will be upon us soon

  2. Michael Cocchiola says:

    Logic and reason fail me when I think about why Republican governors and legislators fight against the ACA and Medicare expansion…Scott in particular. Then I remember that Republicans care nothing for our healthcare. They care nothing for helping those who cannot help themselves. They would walk over emaciated bodies to escape the “nanny state”. They are for themselves only. Pathetic! But the people are speaking and we’ll get American values restored, including in Floriduh.

  3. Edith Campins says:

    Well. it seems that even the red states got tired of waiting for trump’s new healthcare plan that was going to cover everybody and cost less. Obamacare isn’t so bad after all.

  4. Dave says:

    What a great mid term election for all Americans! It may seem the Democrats are really making change for thier party but this change is really good for everyone. Thank you to everyone who voted blue! We did it!

  5. Mark says:

    Why can’t people take care of themselves? A handout is not a hand up.

  6. gmath55 says:

    @ Michael Cocchiola – Where do you get it is Medicare expansion? It is Medicaid expansion. There is a difference. Medicare is a federal program that provides health coverage if you are 65 and older or have a severe disability, no matter your income. Medicaid is a state and federal program that provides health coverage if you have a very low income.

  7. mausborn says:

    Lyndon b. Johnson said it best- “If you can convince the lowest white man that he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll even empty his pockets for you.”

    Typical politics in the south. They vote against their own interests because the rich white guys in suits tell them that voting for a party that is favorable towards the common man will simply benefit the “colored folk” and so the rich guys convince them to vote for the party that is favorable towards the rich. Although poor bubba will not benefit at all (more than likely will be worse off) by voting against his own interest, he is given hope that he may one day achieve an equal amount of wealth as his rich counterpart, because although they have absolutely nothing in common when it comes to education, family connections, family wealth etc. one thing they both have in common is skin color, and poor bubba will lay his head on his piss stained pillow every night on the floor of his dirty trailer park thinking that he is superior because of that reason alone.

  8. Agkistrodon says:

    When does the Free car insurance for those who cannot pay start…….

  9. Bill says:

    And thats how it should be done give the choice to the people of the State.

  10. Sherry says:

    Mausborn. . . Brilliant, simply brilliant! Rupert Murdoch (FOX) and friends (advertisers) are laughing all the way to the bank! And, the beat (AKA brainwashing) goes on! and on! and on!

  11. Sherry says:

    @ Mark. . . I want that front row seat to “you” taking care of yourself and your family by:

    1. Accepting “ZERO” public benefits or assistance like: public schools, libraries, roads, bridges, traffic signals, courts, law enforcement, disaster recovery, war/terrorism defence,. . . and on, and on. . . you know those little things to which you feel personally entitled due to the happenstance of the place you were born and the color of your skin. BTW. . . that includes Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. Come on Mark, you can do it! Cause I’m sick and tired of “my” hard earned taxes being used to give a “hand out” to fearful, angry, bigoted people like you.

    In addition, I guess taking care of yourself would include things like:

    2. Seeing you perform surgery on yourself would be interesting

    3. Personally doing all the repairs on your home and car. . . after creating the tools required

    4. Dispose of all your own rubbish

    5. Building your own internet/TV Network/phone service

    6. Growing all your own food

    7. Creating your own electricity

    And, that’s just scratching the surface. . . . Come on Mark, show us how to “take care” of ourselves! Can’t wait!

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