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 BegichRyan's victory trumps justice reform opponents There is great responsibility being in the minority Senate GOP deeply concerned over Trump effect MORE (Alaska), Mary LandrieuMary LandrieuFive reasons the Trump campaign is in deep trouble Louisiana gov: Trump helped 'shine a spotlight' on flood recovery Giuliani: Trump 'more presidential' than Obama in Louisiana visit MORE (La.) and Kay HaganKay HaganClinton's lead in NC elevates Senate race Democratic National Convention event calendar 10 Senate seats most likely to flip in 2016 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 BurwellUS declares 'public health emergency' in Puerto Rico over Zika Administration shifts funds to boost Zika vaccine work Health chief warns Congress: Zika funds quickly running out MORE, who is expected to replace Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusRomney: Trump victory 'very possible' Fighting for assisted living facilities The chaotic fight for ObamaCare 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.).