Republican governors are beginning to cave on the implementation of expanded Medicaid eligibility and some of the names are quite disappointing.

The first governor to roll over was Ohio Governor John Kasich. Kasich, a noted deficit hawk during his time in Congress now doesn’t seem to mind his state taking part in a trillion dollar fiasco.

Shortly after Kasich’s money grab Jan Brewer of Arizona hopped on the free-money wagon, along with Susana Martinez of New Mexico and Brian Sandoval of Nevada. The latest turncoat is Michigan Governor Rick Snyder.

The expanded Medicaid eligibility is one of the most expensive parts of Obamacare and it was portrayed as optional, but apparently it’s an offer too good for some to refuse.

When Obamacare came to the floor of the House in 2010, the expansion of Medicaid immediately became one of the most controversial elements. Current Medicaid has collapsed state budgets and governors from both sides warned that expanding from 15 million to 18 million beneficiaries could not be sustained. From out of the fields of Nebraska, former Senator Ben Nelson struck a cloak room deal known as the “Cornhusker Kickback” where Nebraska would get a temporary kickback of federal dollars to aid his state to expand its Medicaid enrollments; the deal allowed the Democrats to secure the important 60th vote necessary to ensure Obamacare would reach the floor of the Senate.

The backlash from Nelson’s Medicaid deal was that lawmakers extended the special Medicaid treatment for Nebraska to all states, promising to pay 100 percent of the added costs for three years and then 90 percent in perpetuity, resulting in a taxpayer cost of $932 billion over the first decade of the program.

Last year 26 states won a suit challenging the federal government for trying to intimidate states into implementing the Medicaid expansion and the Supreme Court agreed allowing states the option to reject it.


Fifteen other GOP governors are holding out against rising pressure, most notably Bobby Jindal of Louisiana.  Jindal proposed his own set of reforms but the White House refused to discuss them.  Without reforms Jindal has stated he won’t allow his state to be tied to a trillion-dollar doomsday machine, whether Washington pays all or most of the cost.

The big problem these governors who are taking the money are either ignoring or accepting is that the “free” Medicaid money lasts for only three years at which point the state begins paying for the additional Medicaid costs. After the initial three years the state must pay for 10 percent of the cost and in some states, such as Ohio, that is a very heavy burden for their taxpayers.

It isn’t a stretch to ask if the acceptance of the money is a political ploy to help in either a reelection or higher office move. Are Kasich and the other governors accepting the kickback looking towards solidifying their home base for a move towards national office?

Regardless of motives, how do you accept money for a program you know is fraught with corruption, explodes the national debt and then claim you’re doing what’s best for the taxpayers? Very disappointing.


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