Sebelius: 'Repugnant' for states to reject Medicaid expansion

Sebelius: 'Repugnant' for states to reject Medicaid expansion
© Lauren Schneiderman

Former Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusJerry Moran: 'I wouldn't be surprised' if Pompeo ran for Senate in Kansas Mark Halperin inks book deal 2020 Democrats fight to claim Obama's mantle on health care MORE had harsh words for states that have rejected Medicaid expansion under ObamaCare. 

The former ObamaCare chief said that Kansas and Missouri’s rejection of the expansion is “playing politics with peoples’ lives, I think, in the most irresponsible way possible,” according to The Kansas City Star.   

“It is morally repugnant and economically stupid policy for both Missouri and Kansas,” she added. 

Sebelius made the comments on Monday while speaking at a conference in Kansas City for the Missouri and Kansas Planned Parenthood branch. 

The Obama administration has been trying to get more states to expand the program, emphasizing its willingness to compromise and put in conservative twists, such as making enrollees pay premiums. 

Thirty states have expanded the program so far. But other states, largely led by Republicans, have resisted the program, often citing cost. The federal government initially pays the entire cost of expansion, before dialing back its share to 90 percent.  

But Sebelius and other ObamaCare backers argue that expansion actually benefits state economies by bringing in an injection of federal money. 

Sebelius also spoke out in defense of Planned Parenthood and against state laws restricting abortions. 

“What is happening at the state level is frightening,” she said, according to the Star, denouncing the “restrictive and difficult and demeaning laws” around abortion access.