Obama Wants To Extend Federal Funds For Medicaid Expansion

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Using his 2017 fiscal year budget proposal expected to be sent to Congress next month, President Obama wants to expand an expiring Obamacare provision that temporarily covers the cost of Medicaid expansion for states.

The White House said in a blog post it would like to offer the incentive so more states will follow in Louisiana’s footsteps, where newly-sworn-in Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards has issued an executive order to expand Medicaid.

Obama praised Edwards’ decision at a town hall Thursday. “Right now, we’re hoping to encourage more states to do the right thing,” Obama said. “One of the ways we’re doing that is proposing additional funding to support new states that choose, as John did, to expand Medicaid. So, I’m just proud of him, and I’m confident that he’s going to do great work.”

Under the commander in chief’s landmark health law, 100 percent of states’ costs would be fully funded with federal dollars though the end of the year, when it would gradually drop to 90 percent in 2020.

Louisiana was one of the 20 states that opted out of expansion following a Supreme Court ruling that said the federal government could not mandate states to participate.

The Republican controlled Congress, which has not backed down from its efforts to repeal the Affordable Care Act, will likely reject the Obama’s proposal due to its cost.

“The Medicaid program is already driving up state deficits without providing meaningful coverage for participants leading to a high-quality doctor-patient relationship,” Republican Rep. Charles Boustany said in a statement Wednesday. “Without reforms, these problems will add up to a deficit explosion exacerbating an already strained system. This isn’t a Republican or a Democrat issue, it’s an issue of what works. Expanding Medicaid lock, stock, and barrel under ObamaCare is an irresponsible choice for Louisiana’s future.”

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