Republicans Opposed to Obama’s Health Care Law are Willing to Take its Funding

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Gov. Mike Pence (photo: Carlos Osorio, AP)

Many Republican governors hate Obamacare, but some don’t hate the federal dollars tied to it.


That’s why a few GOP politicians are asking Washington for money—provided under the Affordable Care Act (pdf) to expand Medicaid coverage—to be redirected into state-run health programs.


Republican Governor Mike Pence of Indiana was an early critic of Obamacare while it was still being debated. He was a congressman back then. Now that he’s in the gubernatorial seat, he’s seeking funding for the Healthy Indiana Plan, which assists about 45,000 low-income residents establish health savings accounts to help pay for their out-of-pocket expenses that come with high-deductible insurance plans.


“Obamacare was a mistake. It was, to borrow a phrase, a bad idea poorly executed,” Pence told The Washington Post. “But where I work, it’s about solutions. People are looking for results.”


So, Pence recently traveled to DC, hat in hand, for a meeting with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to ask for a waiver for the Healthy Indiana Plan. He explained to Sebelius that instead of using federal funds to expand Medicaid coverage for Hoosiers, it would be better to use the money for Indiana’s program targeting the poor.


“I’ve made it very clear that I have no interest in expanding traditional Medicaid in Indiana,” he said. “I think Medicaid is a deeply flawed system. I think it’s broke, and broken, and it ill serves the people that are covered.”


Pence told the newspaper that his conversation with Sebelius was “cordial and substantive and serious,” and that “they’ve invited further discussion” on the matter.


Pence isn’t the only GOP governor who’s come knocking on Sebelius’ office door asking for an Obamacare waiver.


Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett (R) sought a waiver so he could require work stipulations for those gaining coverage under Medicaid.

-Noel Brinkerhoff


To Learn More:

GOP Running from Health-Care-Law Label but Not Health-Care-Law Money (by Reid Wilson, Washington Post)

Rejecting Expansion of Medicaid, Republican Governors Prevent Insurance for “Poorest of the Poor” (by Matt Bewig, AllGov)


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