GOP governors plot to preserve Medicaid expansion

John Kasich speaking at lectern
Ohio Gov. John Kasich is among a group of GOP governors who are drawing up a compromise plan that would preserve Medicaid expansion in a repeal of the Affordable Care Act. Image: governor.ohio.gov

In what may prove to be yet another wrinkle in Republicans’ plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, some GOP governors are devising a plan that would preserve the law’s expansion of Medicaid eligibility.

The plan is aimed at maintaining coverage for certain individuals who gained access to Medicaid under the ACA while still shifting more control over Medicaid to states as Republicans have advocated, state officials told Bloomberg on condition of anonymity.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker are part of the group drawing up the plan, as are leaders from Utah, Arizona and Tennessee, according to the article. They presented their plan to other governors during this past weekend’s Governors Association Winter Meeting.

RELATED: Rollback of Medicaid expansion might face GOP opposition

Governors who attended that meeting also saw a presentation that outlined how states would see drastic reductions in their federal funding and major coverage cuts under one ACA repeal-and-replacement proposal, FierceHealthcare reported. In addition, some GOP governors acknowledged that they are still working toward a consensus on what healthcare policy proposals to endorse, and Kasich met with President Donald Trump to advocate for preserving Medicaid expansion.

Even states that did not opt to expand Medicaid would like the option of doing so if that part of the ACA is preserved, Nate Checketts, director of Utah’s Medicaid program, told Bloomberg. And Christina Corieri, a senior policy adviser to Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, said leaders in that state are open to discuss Medicaid financing reforms as long as they’re “equitable” and allow state flexibility.

“You can’t move anyone out of the program without some affordable, viable option to move them into,” she said.

Previously, Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder met with GOP lawmakers to outline their concerns about nixing Medicaid expansion. But other governors, including Asa Hutchinson of Arkansas and Matt Bevin of Kentucky, have pushed for a full repeal of the ACA.