Republicans Highlight Concerns Raised by Two Democratic Governors in Health-Care Debate

By Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, October 8, 2009

Congressional Republicans fired back Wednesday at the White House public relations campaign for health-care reform, highlighting concerns voiced by two Democratic governors about a possible expansion of Medicaid.

The federal-state program for low-income children, pregnant women and disabled people is already driving states to the fiscal brink, and many governors -- Republican and Democrat alike, including those who support the overall reform effort -- are deeply concerned that Congress will add to the burden by expanding Medicaid to cover millions of poor, uninsured adults.

Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D) generally has supported Congress's overhaul efforts and anticipates that insuring more Americans -- a prime goal of the reform bills before Congress -- could help the state's economy in the long run, even if Medicaid spending rose. But the Columbus (Ohio) Dispatch reported that Strickland has warned officials in Washington that, "with our financial challenges right now, we are not in a position to accept additional Medicaid responsibilities."

And the Los Angeles Times quoted Colin Manning, a spokesman for New Hampshire Gov. John Lynch (D), as describing the governor's concerns about "potential cost-shifting to the states" in the bill. Lynch is sufficiently alarmed, Manning said, that he declined last week to sign a letter from 22 Democratic governors urging Congress to finish reform this year.

The Strickland and Manning quotes were circulated by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell's office, on the heels of a Washington Post report Wednesday about the White House's effort to line up pro-reform comments from GOP heavyweights.

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