Cummings Requests State-Level Data, Reports From Six Republican Governors
Seeks to Understand Disagreement on Expanding Medicaid
Washington, D.C. (July 29, 2014)—Today, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, sent letters to six Republican governors seeking information to help explain why some support the expansion of healthcare services to their constituents under the Medicaid program and others oppose it.
Under the Affordable Care Act, Congress pays 100% of costs to expand Medicaid for the first three years, declining gradually to 90% by 2020, with states paying only 10% of these costs. Democratic governors have consistently supported expanding Medicaid, but Republican governors have disagreed among themselves, with widely differing explanations.
Republican governors who support expanding Medicaid have praised these benefits to their constituents and their state budgets:
- Arizona Governor Jan Brewer stated that expanding Medicaid “will extend cost-effective care to Arizona’s working poor, using the very tax dollars our citizens already pay to the federal government.” She added that it “will help prevent our rural and safety-net hospitals from closing their doors” and “will boost our economy by creating more than 20,000 jobs at a time when Arizona needs them most.” Click here to read the letter from Cummings to Governor Brewer.
- New Jersey Governor Chris Christie stated: “I am proud to have made the decision to expand Medicaid and provide greater access to healthcare for New Jerseyans in need.” He reported that expanding Medicaid in his state “will save approximately $227 million in Fiscal Year 2014 alone.” Click here to read the letter from Cummings to Governor Christie.
- Ohio Governor John Kasich stated: “It’s going to save lives.” He added: “It’s going to help people, and you tell me what’s more important than that.” Click here to read the letter from Cummings to Governor Kasich.
In contrast, Republican governors who oppose Medicaid expansion have offered a variety of reasons for their opposition:
- Texas Governor Rick Perry stated: “It’s like putting 1,000 more people on the Titanic when you knew what was going to happen.” Click here to read the letter from Cummings to Governor Perry.
- Florida Governor Rick Scott stated that “since Florida is legally allowed to opt out, that’s the right decision for our citizens.” He also stated: “It will be a big job-killer because it will cost too much.” Click here to read the letter from Cummings to Governor Scott.
- North Carolina Governor Pat McCrory stated: “I will not sacrifice quality care for the people truly in need, nor risk further budget overruns by expanding an already broken system.” Click here to read the letter from Cummings to Governor McCrory.
Rather than relying on rhetoric, Cummings requested that the six governors submit state-specific analyses they relied on to inform their decisions, including data on federal funding they would receive or forego; projected costs to cover uncompensated care that they would either pay for or receive federal funds to cover; the number of direct and indirect jobs that would either be created or foregone; and the number of state residents that would either receive or forego medical care as a result of their decisions.
At a national level, if the 24 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid were to do so today, they would provide healthcare services to an additional 5.69 million people in 2016, receive an additional $423 billion in federal funds for their state budgets through 2022, and help create an additional 734,000 jobs through 2017.