POLITICAL DIARY

Republicans for ObamaCare

By

JASON L. RILEY
Dec. 13, 2013 2:41 p.m. ET
Republicans in Congress believe that opposing ObamaCare will help the GOP in next year’s midterm elections, but state officials are more divided. This week, Iowa’s Terry Branstad joined the growing list of Republican governors who have embraced Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare.

When the Supreme Court upheld the health-care law last year, it said that states could opt out of the Medicaid requirements, and around half of them have, arguing that the federal deal is a bad one for states. But Republican-led states including Arizona ( Jan Brewer ), New Jersey ( Chris Christie ), Pennsylvania (Tom Corbett) and Ohio (John Kasich) have already agreed to accept ObamaCare’s Medicaid funding or are currently in negotiations with the administration. This development, writes National Journal, “could put other Republican governors who have been unsuccessful with or hostile to Medicaid expansion under increasing pressure to follow suit.”

In deep-red states like Texas and Louisiana, where psoriasis is more popular than the president, opting out of the expansion was an easy call. But New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Iowa are states that President Obama won last year. Mr. Christie was up for re-election last month, and Govs. Corbett, Kasich and Branstad face voters next year in states where Democratic and independent voters cannot be so easily ignored.

Of course, if Mr. Christie is considering a presidential bid, as many expect, his support for Medicaid expansion could come back to haunt him. Rick Perry of Texas and Scott Walker of Wisconsin both opted out and may also run for president in 2016. And Mr. Christie is already taking shots from Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, another White House hopeful, for accepting more Medicaid money.

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