More and more Republicans are starting to come around to the fact that denying their states Medicaid expansion means their constituents are paying tens of millions in federal tax dollars that are 100% going to other states, and Republican governors are feeling the heat, big time. Thge problem is their own Tea Party legislatures, who would literally rather let people die than accept help from a black president's health care program.
Several Republican governors and one independent are meeting Republican legislative resistance to their expansion proposals. Some have tried to woo conservatives by adding "free enterprise" provisions, which require federal approval.
Perhaps the most aggressive GOP governor is Bill Haslam of Tennessee, who won re-election in November. Meeting with newspapers and others, Haslam now says Medicaid expansion is "morally and fiscally the right thing to do."
He told the Chattanooga Times Free Press that nearly every elected Republican in Tennessee "has run sometime in the last four years saying, 'I think Obamacare is really bad.'" He said his plan "is not Obamacare." Among other changes, it would offer vouchers to newly eligible adults to help pay for employer-sponsored coverage, and require co-payments for treatment.
Some top Republican lawmakers have praised Haslam's idea. But others vow to fight it, calling the governor's tweaks meaningless. State Sen. Brian Kelsey says Tennessee voters elected Republicans to shrink government, not expand it.
And Haslam is far from alone.
In Wyoming, Gov. Matt Mead opposed Medicaid expansion during his first term but now says it would save the state money and provide needed insurance to poor people.
A committee of Wyoming's GOP-controlled legislature created uncertainty, however, by endorsing a different version. It's modeled on an Indiana plan that would require new Medicaid recipients to pay into a fund similar to a health savings account.
Federal officials have not approved the Indiana plan, backed by Republican Gov. Mike Pence.
Alaska's new independent governor-elect Bill Walker and North Carolina's Republican Gov. Pat McCrory also face serious GOP legislative opposition to their ideas for expanding Medicaid. Virginia's Republican-controlled legislature has thwarted Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe's repeated expansion efforts.
And it gets worse.
Arkansas could become the first state to rescind a decision to expand Medicaid. Term-limited Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe negotiated a modified expansion plan with the Republican-controlled legislature. But Republicans made dramatic gains in the November elections, and some legislators want to undo the decision.
Republican Gov.-elect Asa Hutchinson has yet to announce his position, which could prove crucial.
That's right, Arkansas Republican hate people of color so much, they'll take away their health care. Maybe they'll die or go to another state, right?
And let's not forget, Republicans in Washington want to take health care away from tens of millions for "principles".
Some principles, huh?