A big part of Obamacare is its massive expansion of Medicaid. Fortunately, this expansion can’t happen in most states without Republicans freely choosing to make it happen. Unfortunately, far too many Republican governors seem to be confused about the distinction between repealing Obamacare and implementing it.
If Obamacare isn’t repealed, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projects that it will cost about $1.9 trillion over its real first decade (2014 to 2023) and will still leave 30 million people uninsured. Aside from these 30 million, the CBO projects that 11 million people will be dumped into the already failing Medicaid program — where they’ll receive subpar care at taxpayer expense. Some of these 11 million have employer-sponsored insurance today, but the CBO projects that roughly 4 million people will lose such coverage under Obamacare. The cost to federal taxpayers from Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion alone, according to the CBO, will be about $750 billion over the overhaul’s real first decade.
Nevertheless, some Republican governors want to implement this key aspect of Obamacare in their states. To be clear, they aren’t required to do so by law. Instead, they are actually volunteering to do so.
Among the Republican governors who are lining up to do the president’s bidding (although some are being blocked by their state legislatures) are Chris Christie (N.J.), Rick Scott (Fla.), John Kasich (Ohio), Jan Brewer (Ariz.), Susana Martinez (N.M.), Rick Snyder (Mich.), Jack Dalrymple (N.D.), and Brian Sandoval (Nev.).
Thankfully, however, many other Republican governors are pushing to repeal, rather than to implement, President Obama’s signature legislation. These GOP governors include Rick Perry (Tex.), Bobby Jindal (La.), Pat McCrory (N.C.), Tom Corbett (Pa.), Paul LePage (Maine), Mary Fallin (Okla.), Nathan Deal (Ga.), Phil Bryant (Miss.), Dennis Daugaard (S.D.), Nikki Haley (S.C.), Robert Bentley (Ala.), and Scott Walker (Wis.).
Jeffrey H. Anderson is executive director of the newly formed 2017 Project, which is working to advance a conservative reform agenda.