Medicaid expansion is proving to be a potent political issue in a handful of the holdout states, and there are signs of the opposition cracking.
New Hampshire, a state that was noncommittal on Medicaid expansion, is now on the brink of expanding coverage to approximately 50,000 poor residents. […]There's agitation in the form of big public demonstrations in Florida, and the legislatures in Missouri, Nebraska and even South Carolina for Medicaid expansion. In Maine, the legislature passed an expansion plan but barely failed to get a veto-proof majority. And we saw the narrow win in Arkansas, where a prolonged battle ended up in the state retaining its private option expansion.
In Virginia, Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe has been fighting for Medicaid expansion since he was elected in November (the Republican-led House is opposed). Tensions came to a head this weekend when several hundred demonstrators gathered outside the state Capitol in Richmond to rally for Medicaid expansion, carrying signs that read "We need Medicaid expansion now" and "Get sick, go broke, unacceptable!"
In Pennsylvania, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett had originally proposed a modified version of the program, tying in a controversial requirement that madated those working fewer than 20 hours per week participate in a job-training program to qualify for coverage. The governor has since submitted a softer proposal that "restores some benefits" and drops the work-search requirement in favor of a voluntary pilot program. [...]
Representatives for Utah Gov. Gary Herbert traveled to D.C. this week to discuss Medicaid expansion efforts with administration officials. The governor, who initially refrained from opting in, in January vowed to take action on Medicaid expansion, saying while he opposes President Obama's health care law, the state has an obligation to help its poor.