California’s Medicaid eligibility requirement is on hold as GOP governors decide whether to keep coverage
By MICHAEL JOHNSONAssociated PressRepublican governors are preparing to decide whether the state should keep its expansion of Medicaid eligibility requirements to people who earn too much to qualify for the federal government’s supplemental insurance program, according to a memo circulated by the governors’ office.
The governors, along with the governors of Connecticut and Rhode Island, are weighing whether to maintain the requirement, which requires the federal healthcare law to pay for at least 70 percent of the cost of health insurance for the poor.
States that did not expand Medicaid during the Affordable Care Act’s enrollment period are required to do so under the federal health care law.
But governors are also considering whether they should maintain a cap on the amount that can be funded under the state-run health insurance program.
If governors decide to maintain that requirement, they would also need to decide how much they would spend on Medicaid.
They could decide to limit spending on the program to pay down the debt and to pay the government back in the form of tax credits, but that would likely increase costs and lead to a shortfall in Medicaid funding, according a memo from the governors to the state Legislature.
If they decide to cap spending, they will have to determine how to pay back Medicaid in the future.
The memo says the governors “have been working together to develop a solution” to help cover the costs of the expansion and that they would consider how they would achieve that goal.
The governor’s office did not respond to a request for comment on the memo.
The states that expanded Medicaid to cover people earning too much under the expansion include California, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island and Vermont.
The expansion was extended to cover more than half the states’ population in 2018 and is expected to grow from now through 2024.
Scott Walker, a former Republican presidential candidate who won the presidential election in 2016, was one of the most vocal supporters of expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Health Care Act.
Walker has called the expansion of the program “insurance for the working poor.”
In January, he called the Medicaid expansion “an important step in addressing the rising cost of caring for those living in extreme poverty” and said that the program was “an extension of our Medicaid system.”