White House pressures remaining states to expand Medicaid

The White House has launched a media blitz hoping to convince 20 states to expand their Medicaid programs under the healthcare reform law. Most recent efforts focus on North Carolina, which has one of the highest uninsured rates among African Americans.

"Too often, we see partisan politics get in the way of good decision-making," Josh Earnest, White House principal deputy press secretary, said on a conference call with reporters, WRAL reported. "I'm not sure there is another explanation" to states opting out of Medicaid expansion.

"This is actually a net budgetary benefit to those states that choose to expand Medicaid," Earnest said, adding that it's a "smart choice" for states to allow additional consumers into the program because they'll actually save money in the long-run, reported the Charlotte News & Observer.

Of the 1.5 million uninsured population throughout North Carolina, Medicaid expansion is estimated to provide health coverage to 377,000 people. However, Gov. Pat McCrory said he has no plans to reconsider his decision on Medicaid and instead plans to introduce his own initiative to reform Medicaid.

Administration officials also have held conference calls with leaders from other Republican-led states, including Louisiana, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Florida, that haven't expanded Medicaid, the Washington Times reported.

Meanwhile, about six out of 10 uninsured African Americans may be eligible for Medicaid or the children's health insurance program, according to a new study from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. If every state expanded Medicaid, 95 percent of the 6.8 million uninsured African Americans could get coverage through Medicaid, Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or subsidies.

To learn more:
- read the Washington Times article
- see the WRAL article
- check out the Charlotte News & Observer article
- here's the HHS study