Jindal pushes Obama to meet with GOP governors on Medicaid

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) is raising pressure on President Obama to meet with Republican governors on Medicaid after an initial meeting request went unanswered.

In a letter to the president on Thursday, Jindal wrote that a meeting is "more important than ever," given the Obama administration's announcement that states cannot partially expand Medicaid under the healthcare law.

"In her most recent letter to governors ... [Health and Human Services] Secretary [Kathleen] Sebelius did not adequately address our request for greater state flexibility," wrote Jindal, who leads the Republican Governors Association (RGA).

"We regret that we have not heard from you regarding our pending meeting request. In the wake of Secretary Sebelius's letter, it is clear that a meeting to discuss the future of Medicaid is more important than ever."

Jindal was part of a group of 11 GOP governors that first requested to meet with Obama Dec. 4.

In that letter, the governors argued for a Medicaid overhaul that would give states more control over the program. On Thursday, Jindal asked Obama for a "meaningful dialogue" on those ideas.

GOP governors have long tangled with Democratic administrations on Medicaid, which the federal government and states run jointly.

The Affordable Care Act's directive to expand the program has been of particular concern since 2010.

The Supreme Court decision on the law made the Medicaid expansion optional, and the federal government will still cover all initial expansion costs, with its contribution dropping to 90 percent by 2020.

But GOP governors were disappointed Dec. 10 to hear they could not pursue a partial expansion.

"The answer is disappointing for many governors who hoped the administration was more serious about providing states flexibility," said Mike Schrimpf, communications director for the RGA.