‘The politics have changed’: South warms to expanded health benefits

‘The politics have changed’: South warms to expanded health benefits

Jan 31, 2024 by Health Care - Politico

Key Facts

  • And in Alabama, Speaker Nathaniel Ledbetter said the state has “got to have the conversation” about expanding coverage to more Alabamians and that a “private-public partnership” to do so “makes a lot of sense.”
  • “Eight years ago you would have had to dance around the jargon you used because Obamacare still had this bad branding with Republicans, but these days I don’t even think you have to do that,” said Brian Robinson, a Republican strategist in Georgia and deputy chief of staff to former Gov. Nathan Deal, who refused to expand Medicaid.
  • Beyond working-class interests, the strategists, lawmakers and health care advocates attributed the GOP’s shift to a constellation of factors: rural hospitals in conservative areas closing their doors; growing acknowledgement among Republicans that expanding coverage would mostly benefit people already working; a belief that the federal government won’t renege on its promise to foot most of the bill; states like North Carolina and South Dakota last year adopting expansion; and increasing frustration from the holdout states that they are losing out on millions in federal dollars.
  • “Once you change out some of this more established leadership — people who have been there for a long time, since the original Medicaid battles — they aren’t as beholden to that position,” Sharp said.

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