Since the Supreme Court ruled that the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act is voluntary for states, several Republican state governors have made it clear they will not take part. Many liberals claim that popular support and lobbying pressure will eventually force these governors to relent, but that may not be the case.
The first real polling in a red state on the issue of whether or not the state should expand Medicaid indicates for now these Republican governors opposing expansion aren’t likely to pay a real political price for their stance. In Arkansas a plurality don’t want Medicaid expanded even after being told the federal government would pay most of the cost, according to a new Talk Business-Hendrix College Poll:
Q: One component of the health care reform law involves an expansion of Medicaid to cover medical expenses for individuals living just above the poverty level. The expansion would be fully funded for several years by the federal government with the state incurring up to 10% of the cost later. Under the Supreme Court ruling, Arkansas has the choice whether or not to expand its Medicaid program to include an additional 250,000 Arkansas residents. Should Arkansas expand Medicaid?
11% Don’t Know
Many Republican governors are using this moment to take a stand against ObamaCare specifically and the social safety net in general, because they can.
It is possible opinions on the issue will change significantly after the law is set to be implemented in 2014, but for now these governors seem to have enough popular support that they don’t need to fear a real backlash. Even if all these red states eventually accept the expansion, there seems to be a real chance it could become a slow process that could take years.