By Jonathan Easley - 11/20/13 11:44 AM EST
The Obama administration is pressuring state officials in Nebraska to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.
The Medicaid expansion has been one of the few bright spots for ObamaCare so far, with nearly half a million people signing up in the first six weeks.
Twenty-five states and the District of Columbia have so far opted into the expanded Medicaid program. But the other 25 states, mostly run by Republican governors or legislatures, have said they would not move forward on the expansion at this time.
Many conservative lawmakers facing reelection or seeking higher office fear there will be blowback from Republican voters if they accept federal dollars associated with President Obama’s healthcare law.
Their liberal critics have blasted them, saying they’re putting politics ahead of the well-being of their citizens.
Under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government will pay the full cost for a Medicaid expansion for those earning less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level for three years. That drops to 90 percent in the fourth year, requiring the states to pick up the additional 10 percent.
The Supreme Court ruled last year that the federal government couldn’t force states to participate in the expansion.
Alaska is the most recent state to decline the expansion.
Gov. Sean Parnell (R) said last Friday that the state wouldn’t participate because Medicaid was a “broken” and “unsustainable” system. He also said he couldn’t “trust the government not to cut and run” on its obligations.