Norm Ornstein: Governors who refuse Medicaid funds ‘deserve condemnation’


The American Enterprise Institute scholar blasted Republican governors for vowing to reject Medicaid expansion funds as “an utterly self-destructive decision.” On Sunday’s Up with Chris Hayes, he said that refusing to expand Medicaid would not only leave millions of Americans uninsured, but it would also end up costing states money.

“When you take people off the Medicaid rolls, or don’t let them on the Medicaid rolls, they go to the emergency rooms, which have to take them,” he said. “So this is not only something that is given to the states for free for three years—and if you wanted to opt out when it goes to ninety percent, okay—but it’s going to cost the state money.”

According to host Chris Hayes, seven governors have already said that they will not accept the Medicaid expansion funds provided as part of the Affordable Care Act, “potentially leaving more than 2.3 million Americans uninsured in those states alone.” The Medicaid expansion would cover people whose income is up to 133% of the poverty line. For the first three years, federal funds would cover the entire cost of the expansion, and after that 90%.

Ornstein said that the only rationale for rejecting those funds “has nothing to do with actually running a state.” “It’s a decision made for nakedly partisan and ideological, political reasons,” he said. “And these governors deserve condemnation for it, I believe.”

Norm Ornstein: Governors who refuse Medicaid funds 'deserve condemnation'