The National Governors Association kicks off its 104th annual meeting in Williamsburg, Va., this Friday – and already the state executives’ reactions to the Supreme Court’s health-care ruling appear to be the main event.
In the weeks since the Supreme Court ruling, several Republican governors opposed to the law have declared that they will opt out of its Medicaid expansion, which is set to take effect in 2014 and would cover those earning 133 percent or less of the federal poverty level.
Among the GOP governors who have announced they will oppose the Medicaid expansion are Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal.
In the political hotseat this weekend are likely to be those GOP governors who have yet to announce their positions on the issue – including Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal.
Some of those governors are already coming under pressure from Democrats in their home states to take part in the expansion. Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.) on Wednesday wrote a letter to McDonnell arguing that opting out of the expansion would be “a costly and historic mistake.”
And the four Democratic members of Georgia’s congressional delegation – Reps. Hank Johnson, John Lewis, David Scott and Sanford Bishop – wrote a letter to Deal on Wednesday urging him to “expand Georgia’s Medicaid program and extend health insurance to over 600,000 needy Georgians, including many that we are proud to represent.”
Deal has said that he intends to wait until after November to make a decision.
According to the nonprofit Urban Institute, if the national health care law were implemented in all 50 states, about 22 million Americans who are currently uninsured would be eligible for Medicaid. Of them, about 15 million are uninsured adults who are not currently eligible.