Why More Red States Could Expand Medicaid … Thanks to Trump
Health Care

Why More Red States Could Expand Medicaid … Thanks to Trump

iStockphoto/The Fiscal Times

The Trump administration’s decision to let states impose work requirements on Medicaid recipients may result, ironically enough, in more red states expanding the health care program, according to report by the Associated Press.

Democrats and advocacy groups had criticized the administration’s move, saying it would make it harder for poor Americans to get care. And 15 Kentucky residents sued the federal government Wednesday, challenging the work mandate.

But in other states, the option of imposing work requirements is reviving calls for expanding Medicaid, the AP says.

The appeal of Medicaid expansion is clear enough for the states, since it means billions of federal dollars for medical providers and more health care for residents. But conservatives have long worried about providing too much help for “able-bodied adults,” who in their view should be taking care of themselves. Adding a work requirement for Medicaid recipients could ease those fears, making it easier politically to expand health care programs for the poor.

Mike Leavitt, the former Republican governor of Utah, told the AP, “Republicans want Medicaid to help people who are doing their best to become self-sufficient but need temporary help to get there.”