Democrats are considering a new strategy to win over Obamacare holdouts in the states: generous enticements to expand Medicaid in the next coronavirus rescue package.
In an interview, Sen. Doug Jones (D-Ala.) is hoping that any future relief measure from Congress includes his bill with Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) that would fully pay for states to cover working-age adults for three years, just as the government did for early expansion states in the first days of the Affordable Care Act.
Jones acknowledged some GOP opposition to expanding Medicaid but argued the crisis may shift their thinking.
“Republicans pushed back on that because they don’t want to legitimize the ACA but that would be so important for these states… if we could get something in there that gives states these incentives to do this,” Jones said. “It’s another way to get federal money in, it’s another way to get better health outcomes, it’s another way that we can help the economy when it starts to roll again.”
Under Jones and Warner’s proposal, the reimbursements would eventually be cut down to 90 percent.
So far, however, President Donald Trump has shown little interest in expanding Medicaid in light of the pandemic. Instead, the White House wants to use a $100 billion fund for hospitals in the most recent rescue package to treat uninsured coronavirus patients.
Governors in some holdout states are also resistant to the idea. Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves reiterated recently that he has not changed his views on Medicaid expansion despite the coronavirus.
But Jones, in the interview, noted that the Deep South has been hit hard by the pandemic.
“We haven’t expanded Medicaid and given our people the ability to have health insurance,” said the Alabama Democrat, who faces a difficult reelection bid in November.
The proposal is one of several ideas Democrats are pushing in their discussions about a fourth rescue package. Democrats are also calling for expanding vote by mail, as well as creating a fund that would give premium pay to workers on the frontlines of the coronavirus like health care workers and grocery store clerks.
Senate Republicans, meanwhile, have focused their attention on implementation of the $2 trillion-plus package and pushing to approve another quarter of a trillion dollars in assistance for small businesses.
Susannah Luthi and Burgess Everett contributed to this report.
The post Dems eye Medicaid incentives for next coronavirus rescue package appeared first on Politico.