In a blog on February 14, I predicted that a 2-to-1 plurality of 34 state governors would ultimately recommend the Medicaid Expansion and provided a current tally of their recommendations. Of course, the difficulty inherent in that number is that 30 governors are Republicans and initially, 11 Republican governors came out united in their opposition to the Medicaid Expansion.
But since then, eight of 13 Republican governors who have made a decision have recommended that their states proceed with the Medicaid Expansion, including New Jersey Governor Chris Christie (see below), who announced his decision Feb.26. Like other Republicans governors who have recommended "for" expansion, Christie stated that his state's expansion effort would proceed provided that the federal government held up its end of the bargain, sustaining its promised 90 percent contribution toward the costs of caring for the expansion population.
On the other side of the aisle, the 14 Democratic governors who already announced their support for the Medicaid Expansion were joined this week by Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas, who announced on Feb. 26, bringing the total number of Democratic governors supporting the Expansion to 15. He was joined by Rhode Island's independent governor, Lincoln Chafee, also joined the "for" group this week.
Decisions made this week (Feb. 24-March 2):
|New Jersey||Chris Christie (R)||For|
|Rhode Island||Lincoln Chafee (I)||For|
|Arkansas||Mike Beebe (D)||For|
As shown above, six more Republican governors joined the opponents of Medicaid expansion, while seven Republicans (plus one more Democrat) joined the governors who support the Expansion. This puts the tally at 21 for Expansion and 17 against, so for now, my prediction of 34 governors in favor is shot. The breakdown by party of those who have taken a position so far is is as follows:
|Favor Expansion||Against Expansion|
|8 Republicans||17 Republicans**|
|15 Democrats||0 Democrats|
|24 governors||17 governors|
Of the nine remaining undecided governors, five are Republican, and four are Democratic.
|State||Undecided Republicans||Undecided Democrats|
|New York||Andrew Cuomo|
|W. Virginia||Earl Ray Tomblin|
I continue to believe that all of the remaining undecided Democratic governors will support the Medicaid Expansion. And, I also believe that most of the undecided Republicans will go along with it as well.
**At this time, I have both Iowa and Indiana in the "against" column, but there's significant opposition to Governor Branstead's recommendation to forego the Expansion in Iowa, and Indiana Governor Pence is seeking some modifications that could change him from an against to a for as well. Let's see what happens this week.