By Ferdous Al-Faruque - 06/04/14 11:18 AM EDT
Some of the most vulnerable Democratic senators have signed on to a Wednesday letter asking Republican governors to "put politics aside" and expand Medicaid coverage under ObamaCare.
Democratic Sens. Mark BegichMark BegichSenate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Unable to ban Internet gambling, lawmakers try for moratorium MORE (Alaska), Mary LandrieuMary Landrieu oil is changing the world and Washington Ex-Sen. Kay Hagan joins lobby firm Republican announces bid for Vitter’s seat MORE (La.) and Kay HaganKay Hagan10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 Senate Republicans are feeling the 'Trump effect' Washington's lobby firms riding high MORE (N.C.), who are running tight midterm reelection races, were among the 20 who signed the letter. The letter was addressed to their three governors, along with 15 others.
“Again, we urge that you put politics aside and do the right thing in helping to expand Medicaid coverage to the millions of Americans who desperately need it,” they added.
Under the Affordable Care Act, states can expand Medicaid to poorer Americans, and the cost is overwhelmingly covered by the federal government.
However, several states have decided against implementing the provision because they are concerned the federal government may not be able to hold up its end of the bargain to pay for coverage.
The signatories urged the Republican governors to expand Medicaid to 6 million more people in their states whose incomes are too high for current coverage but too low to qualify for premium tax credits under ObamaCare insurance plans.
The senators also noted Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellReid: McConnell 'stringing us along' on Zika Lawsuits mount against FDA regs on e-cigarettes HHS launches contest to make bills simpler MORE, who is expected to replace Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusFighting for assisted living facilities The chaotic fight for ObamaCare California exchange CEO: Insurers ‘throwing ObamaCare under the bus’ MORE as Health and Human Services (HHS) secretary, has said she plans to work with states to be flexible in how they implement Medicaid expansion as long as it falls within the law.
“This was a reaffirmation of HHS’s commitment to work with states, and we would encourage you to begin discussions about how best to provide coverage for the people who fall into this coverage gap,” they said.
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It was sent to Republican Govs. Robert Bentley (Ala.), Sean Parnell (Alaska), Rick Scott (Fla.), Nathan Deal (Ga.), Butch Otter (Idaho), Sam Brownback (Kan.), Bobby Jindal (La.), Paul LePage (Maine), Phil Bryant (Mississippi), Dave Heineman (Neb.), Pat McCroy (N.C.), Mary Fallin (Okla.), Nikki Haley (S.C.), Dennis Daugaard (S.D.), Bill Haslam (Tenn.), Rick Perry (Texas), Scott Walker (Wis.) and Matt Mead (Wyo.).