Great news from Santa Fe: New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez has announced she’ll support an expansion of Medicaid in her state. The Medicaid expansion, a key part of the Affordable Care Act, would provide health coverage for 170,000 people.
The Medicaid expansion is an issue we’ve been following for a long time, especially since the Supreme Court left it up to states to decide whether they’d accept federal funding and expand Medicaid coverage for lower-income families. It should be an easy decision, but many Republican state officials are saying no—just this week, Gov. Butch Otter of Idaho announced he’d turn down expansion, leaving 88,000 of his constituents behind.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott has been one of the worst offenders here. He was quick to suggest he’d reject Medicaid expansion after the Supreme Court’s decision and he’s made increasingly strenuous efforts to justify his denial of health coverage to around 1 million people. He’s been repeatedly citing false numbers to support his decision, and he has asked the Obama administration to allow him to privatize the entire Medicaid program.
Getting the word out about governors who block Medicaid expansion—and pressuring state leaders to support health care for low-income families—will be a major priority over the next two years. We’re going to hold accountable leaders who deny health coverage to their most vulnerable citizens. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Working America’s new staff in Houston, Texas are working hard to pressure Gov. Rick Perry to accept the Medicaid expansion, which would cover 1 out of every 4 Texans.