Governor Tom Corbett (R-PA) — one of the most unpopular governors in the nation — has decided to expand Medicaid to cover 682,000 residents who currently earn too much to qualify for government-subsidized health care.
Medicaid expansion, a key component of Obamacare, has been rejected in nearly every state that voted for Mitt Romney in the last election. But since the election a rash of Republican governors in states President Obama won have accepted the expansion, which the Supreme Court ruled in 2012 could not be forced on state governments.
Brian Sandoval (R-NV) was first followed by Susana Martinez (R-NM), Chris Christie (R-NJ), John Kasich (R-OH), Rick Scott (R-FL), Rick Snyder (R-MI), and now Corbett. All of these governors were able to pass expansion through their state legislatures, except Scott and Kasich — though Ohio’s governor is still pushing to accept the federal money.
Jan Brewer (R-AZ) — who represents a state Romney won but is trending Democrat — won a standoff with her Republican legislature to expand Medicaid in her state.
Why fight for a program that most Republicans consider the greatest evil of the 21st century?
Apparently, these governors all want to keep their jobs.
Turning down Medicaid expansion is a terrible deal. Not only will working families be denied coverage, but the state will be turning down millions if not billions in federal funds that their taxpayers and corporations will have to pay anyway. Meanwhile, insurance rates will likely rise as the uninsured continue to rely on emergency rooms.
Expansion is scheduled to begin on January 1, 2014 with enrollment in the program opening on October 1. The governor has been resisting the expansion since he was elected in 2010, even after President Obama won the state by more than five percent.
“A coalition of hospital executives, Democratic lawmakers, labor unions and the AARP has been pushing for expanded care in Pennsylvania,” Lancaster Online‘s Karen Shuey reports.
But seeing his fellow Republican Rick Snyder turn around in the polls after expanding Medicaid likely gave Corbett all the convincing he needed.
Photo: chesbayprogram via Flickr.com