Iowa’s GOP governor expands Medicaid program Thursday

December 12, 2013
(Mike Segar/Reuters) (Mike Segar/Reuters)

The White House welcomed the news Thursday night that Iowa’s Republican Gov. Terry Branstad agreed to expand his state’s Medicaid program under the administration’s health-care law.

Under a compromise with the Department of Health and Human Services, the state will be allowed to charge premiums to people who earn between 100 percent and 133 percent of the federal poverty line, to pay a modest premium for health coverage.  

“This is an Iowa plan that fits the health needs of our state,” Branstad said in a statement, saying as many as 150,000 Iowans could ultimately be covered under the expansion.

The premiums are limited at 2 percent of income -- which equals $19 per month for someone at the poverty line -- and enrollees have the chance to reduce their payment by taking part in a wellness program.

In a statement, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the  announcement "is great news for the thousands of Iowans who will now have access to quality, affordable health insurance coverage thanks to the Affordable Care Act."

"Iowa joins a growing number of states – led by both Republican and Democratic governors -- that have chosen to put politics aside in expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act to reduce the rate of uninsured and help their states, hospitals, and businesses save on uncompensated care costs," Carney added. "It is another example of how, when both parties are flexible and work together, we can move the country forward for the good of all Americans."

Including Branstad, 10 Republicans  governors  have backed the idea of expanding the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act.

Juliet Eilperin is The Washington Post's White House bureau chief, covering domestic and foreign policy as well as the culture of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. She is the author of two books—one on sharks, and another on Congress, not to be confused with each other—and has worked for the Post since 1998.
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