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Posts tagged ‘John Kasich’

Gov. Walker’s ‘Third Way’ Medicaid Plan Criticized as 2016 Maneuver.


Image: Gov. Walker's 'Third Way' Medicaid Plan Criticized as 2016 Maneuver

By Melissa Clyne

 

Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s proposed “third way” Medicaid option to make sure his state’s residents have insurance coverage is a maneuver some political pundits claim is designed to lay the groundwork for a 2016 presidential bid by the Republican.

Walker’s plan to turn down federal dollars offered to expand Medicaid coverage in the Badger State would actually increase its rolls by more than 80,000 adults, The Wall Street Journal reports.

Currently, Wisconsin offers one of the most sweeping Medicaid programs in the country, covering adults making up to twice the federal poverty level. The proposed Walker plan would cover only those earning at or below the poverty level — $11,490 annually for a single person — freeing up money to open enrollments, which have been frozen since 2009, when spending caps forced the suspension of new enrollees.

The move, which could help raise his profile during a presidential run, allows Walker to tout the conservative position of opposing Obamacare while appealing to a broader base of voters concerned with getting healthcare coverage.

Walker’s political capital increased after surviving a 2012 recall election brought on by Democrats angry over Walker’s decision to limit the collective bargaining rights of state employees.

Medicaid expansion became optional under a 2012 Supreme Court ruling. The federal government has guaranteed financing states’ expansion costs through 2016 and at least 90 percent afterward.

But some GOP governors, including Rick Perry of Texas, don’t trust the promise. Perry rejected the expansion, arguing that states would ultimately get stuck footing the bill. Ohio’s John Kasich is taking the federal money while governors in Pennsylvania and Tennessee have tried to get the federal Medicaid money but use it to expand private coverage, the Journal reported Wednesday.

Though Walker’s plan reduces the number of Wisconsin residents who would qualify for Medicaid, the 77,000 people losing coverage would qualify for subsidies with monthly premiums less than $20, Kaiser Health News reports.

“You’re going to hear some detractors claim that moving people to the private market or to the exchanges isn’t affordable,” Walker says. “I think most people would find it hard to imagine that with the tax subsidies, that $19 a month is somehow not affordable. I think it is.”

Walker’s “third way” option “allows him to combat criticism either for accepting the federal money or blocking a Medicaid expansion,” according to the Journal.

“In our state, we didn’t take that false choice,” Walker said. “We picked a third option. For the first time in our state’s history, everyone in poverty will be covered.”

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Rove to GOP Presidential Hopefuls: Ignore Early Polls.


Ignore the primary polls; they don’t mean anything at this point in the 2016 race to the White House, Karl Rove advises Republican presidential aspirants.

In an opinion piece in Wednesday’s Wall Street Journal, the deputy chief of staff for former President George W. Bush says the GOP nomination is “a likely ticket to the White House” because of the “mounting rubble of the Obama presidency.”

But anyone hoping to be the GOP standard-bearer for 2016 will have to make 2014 “more inspiring than personal ambition,” he said.

“Acting selflessly to elect others is the most self-interested thing presidential hopefuls can do” next year, he said.

One compelling challenge for presidential candidates will be to “resist the temptation” to spend most of 2014 in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina, the three earliest primary contests, or, Rove warned, run the risk of having no national network to win the nomination and a reputation “for being self-obsessed.”

More importantly, he advised, aspirants should work to help the GOP win congressional seats and governorships.

Rove’s advice for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie as chairman of the Republican Governors Association is to “barnstorm the 30 states with gubernatorial elections.”

Sens. Ted Cruz and Rob Portman, vice chairmen of the Republican Senatorial Campaign Committee, can “help in the critical battle for the upper chamber,” and Sen. Rand Paul, a leader of the party’s libertarian element, and tea party favorite Sen. Marco Rubio can both “boost their 2016 chances by making it about the GOP team next year, not themselves,” Rove said.

Republican Govs. John Kasich, Susana Martinez, Brian Sandoval, Rick Snyder, and Scott Walker, Rove urged, should concentrate on re-election by “healthy margins and with messages that inspire Republicans beyond their states.”

Rep. Paul Ryan “must similarly win re-election while also leading the GOP in the congressional budget battles,” he said.

Rove said GOP Govs. Bobby Jindal and Rick Perry, former Govs. Jeb Bush and Mike Huckabee, and former Sen. Rick Santorum — all without any re-election campaigns — should “say exactly what’s on their minds, to speak as liberated rather than programmed, and to do all they can to advance the party’s cause in the midterm elections” if they want a shot at the White House.

All the aspirants, however, need to get out on the road to practice — and “avoid saying stupid things and reinforcing stereotypes.”

“In politics, practice doesn’t make perfect, but it does make better,” Rove said.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Cathy Burke

Walker Seen As GOP’s Alternative to Christie in 2016.


Image: Walker Seen As GOP's Alternative to Christie in 2016

Many Republican activists, citing Congress‘ deep unpopularity, say they want a governor to be their next presidential nominee. The buzz centers on New Jersey’s Chris Christie for now, but Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is using a national book tour to try to climb into the 2016 conversation.

A small but potentially potent group of GOP insiders say he’s a can-do governor with Christie’s good qualities, and few of Christie’s downsides.

Everything depends on Walker winning re-election next year. If he does, he can join Christie in casting himself as a two-term Republican governor who thrived in a Democratic-leaning state.

Then, Walker’s supporters say, his more conservative stances on several issues would help him in GOP primaries. And Walker’s calm Midwestern demeanor, they say, will play better in Iowa, South Carolina and other places than would Christie’s penchant for bombast and confrontation.

Plenty of potential hurdles stand in Walker’s way, as they do for other Republican governors, such as John Kasich of Ohio. They are not well-known outside their states. And they are untested on national stages, which have chewed up many once-promising governors, including Texas’ Rick Perry and New York’s Rudy Giuliani.

Still, some well-known Republicans say Walker deserves a bit of the attention that showered Christie after his easy re-election this month.

“Walker is the type of leader who is the future of our party,” said Fred Malek, a Republican fundraiser and activist since the Nixon administration. He said Walker can appeal to an array of Republicans and unite the party, which has lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential races.

Walker has used TV, radio and other forums this week to promote his new book, “Unintimidated,” while also subtly pushing his presidential potential. At a conservative gathering Thursday in Washington, a friendly interviewer helped him make his best possible contrast with Christie.

Marc Thiessen, Walker’s co-author, said Christie “is moderate in policy and immoderate in temperament. You are very moderate in temperament but immoderate in policy.”

Walker didn’t quarrel with the premise. “Chris and I are good friends,” he said, and both of them stay true to their principles.

“The demeanor you have does have an impact,” Walker said. In New Jersey, he said, “the way that Chris has reacted to things actually fits.”

“I just have a Midwestern filter, that’s the difference,” Walker said. “I’m willing to speak out, but I’m not going to call you an idiot. I’m just going to say ‘That’s a ridiculous question,’ and move on.”

Walker brought up Hillary Rodham Clinton without being asked, calling her the likely Democratic nominee for president. She is “a product, by and large, of Washington, not just of late, but for decades,” he said. The way to defeat her, he said, is with a Republican team that’s “completely focused on being outsiders, taking Washington on, successful reformers in states.”

Walker uses similar language to downgrade the political prospects of members of Congress. That would include such potential GOP presidential candidates as Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Rand Paul of Kentucky and Marco Rubio of Florida and Rep. Paul Ryan, a fellow Wisconsinite.

“I think both the presidential and the vice presidential nominee should either be a former or current governor,” Walker told ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday. “People who have done successful things in their states.”

Walker’s biggest achievement as governor was curbing the powers of government-sector unions, which triggered a ferocious backlash. Walker survived a bitterly fought recall election, making him a hero to conservatives who oppose unions.

Walker says he wasn’t intimidated by death threats against his family, thus the name of his book.

Walker takes a more conservative stand on some issues than do fellow Republican governors such as Christie and Kasich. Unlike them, Walker refused to expand Medicaid in his state with new federal funds under President Barack Obama’s new health care law. Democrats accused him of putting political ambition above the best interests of low-income Wisconsin residents.

“Accepting Medicaid expansion through Obamacare would be an anathema to Walker’s tea party base and his corporate backers,” said the liberal Daily Kos website.

Walker joined many other governors in criticizing congressional Republicans who prompted a 16-day government shutdown last month in a failed bid to block the Affordable Care Act. Chief among them was Cruz, who establishment Republicans fear will appeal to hard-line conservatives in Republican primaries but not to general election voters in November 2016.

Campaign strategists say Walker is trying to carve a middle path between Christie’s moderation and Cruz’s staunchly right positions.

Walker “is best positioned to unite the conservative and establishment wings,” said Texas-based consultant Matt Mackowiak. “Winning victories over public unions and beating back a recall attempt,” he said, can help Walker build a national image for conservative voters.

At least one liberal group is taking note of Walker. Progressives United is criticizing his record and seeking donations “to stop his political career dead in its tracks.”

Even Walker’s biggest fans note that the 2016 election is far off, and any number of unforeseen events can boost or doom potential candidacies.

Christie planted himself in the middle of Republican speculation by winning two terms in a state that hasn’t backed a Republican presidential nominee since 1988. Walker, several other governors and a few members of Congress will see if they can join him.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Source: Newsmax.com

Kasich: Obamacare Glitches Causing Loss of Confidence.


The massive glitches in the Obamacare website rollout are creating an “issue of confidence” around the country, says Republican Ohio Gov. John Kasich, but a Democratic governor says people should “chill out” and wait for the program to work.

Kasich, appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” said Obamacare doesn’t get to the problem of the higher cost of healthcare and does nothing to drive down costs. It is clear, he added, that no one ever talked to businesses when setting up the program.

“When people are uncertain about their future, they sit on their wallets,” he said.

Editor’s Note Video Exposes Dangers of Obamacare Law

The problem is in Washington is that people talk past everything and can’t get anything done in bipartisan mode, said Kasich, a former member of the House of Representatives.

Ohio is using the federal exchange, though Kasich earlier this month managed to expand Medicaid for poor Ohioans over the objection of the state’s conservative legislature.

Neighboring Kentucky set up its own exchange,  and Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear said on “Meet the Press” that the program is working there.

“The only way we’re going to get ourselves out of the ditch is some transformational tool,” he said.

Althought the Affordable Care Act isn’t yet working on the federal level, Beshear said it will eventually.

Everyone should “take a deep breath,” Beshear said. “We’re going to make it work because it’s good for the American people” Beshear advised critics to “chill out because it is going to work.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.
By Greg Richter

Jindal: Obama Must Stop Playing ‘Victim in Chief’ in Shutdown.


Image: Jindal: Obama Must Stop Playing 'Victim in Chief' in Shutdown

By Elliot Jager

With politicians in the national government embittered, polarized and stalemated, Republican governors – led by Louisiana 2016 presidential hopeful Bobby Jindal – want their party to be defined by something better than dysfunction in Washington.

As head of the Republican Governors AssociationJindal unveiled a media campaignthat he says will show how conservative principles can successfully be turned into real policies.

Trying to create a political firewall between the mire in Washington and his own ambitions – in the summer he shocked some by saying Republicans needed “to stop being the stupid party” – on Wednesday Jindal blamed the federal government shutdown on “leaders across the board” though on no one congressional faction in particular, Politico  reported. 

With a series of advertisements, the GOP governors want to differentiate what they say is conservative competence at the state level from governmental stalemate in Washington.

“All of Washington, D.C. is dysfunctional,” Jindal said. “It’s not just a matter of who’s in leadership or personalities or who’s in power.”

Besides opposing Obamacare and attacking the president as the “victim-in-chief” rather than a leader who can make government work, Jindal reiterated his own platform. He advocates sweeping “structural changes” in government including a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution, congressional term limits, and requiring a legislative supermajority before taxes can be raised.

He also wants a supermajority before spending goes above the rate of population growth, Politico reported.

Beyond that, Jindal has long advocated a part-time Congress. In Louisiana, in contrast, he supported a substantial pay increase for part-time legislators who complained that their job can’t be done on a part-time basis, according to The New York Times.

The Republican governors’ media drive, “American Comeback Campaign” begins Thursday starring Ohio Gov. John Kasich, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez and Jindal himself.

In due course, there will be appearances by all of the country’s 30 GOP governors, Jindal told a Washington news conference. Each governor ends their appearance with the mantra: “Republican governors are the ones who are driving America’s comeback.”

Jindal asserted: “As governors, we’re no longer content to outsource the definition of our brand, or what it means to be a Republican, to Washington D.C.”

While Jindal may want to position any presidential campaign as a race against Washington he would not necessarily have that brand to himself. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, also touted as a possible Republican presidential candidate, is poised to coast to an easy victory in November against his Democratic challenger, state Sen. Barbara Buono.

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© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

Tea Party Sours on GOP Officials it Helped to Elect.


This wasn’t the revolution the tea party had in mind.

Four years ago, the movement and its potent mix of anger and populism persuaded thousands of costumed and sign-waving conservatives to protest the ballooning deficit and President Barack Obama’s health care law.

It swept a crop of no-compromise lawmakers into Congress and governor’s offices and transformed political up-and-comers into household names.

But as many tea party stars seek re-election next year, conservative activists are finding themselves at a crossroads. Many of their standard-bearers have embraced more moderate positions on bedrock issues such as immigration and healthcare.

“They keep sticking their finger in the eyes of the guys who got them elected,” said Ralph King, a co-founder of the Cleveland Tea Party Patriots.

The tea party is a loosely knit web of activists, and some are hoping to rekindle the fire with 2014 primary challenges to wayward Republicans. But many more say they plan to sit out high-profile races in some important swing states next year, a move that GOP leaders fear could imperil the re-election prospects of former tea party luminaries, including the governors of Florida and Ohio.

In the summer of 2009, tea party supporters stormed congressional town hall meetings, shouting down lawmakers who had voted for the bank bailout and the stimulus package. The movement’s voice grew louder after Democrats passed the health care overhaul, and voters took their outrage to the polls in 2010.

But not long after some tea party stars took office, political analysts said, they were forced to adapt to a changing landscape, particularly in states Obama won in 2012, and to the realities of governing.

The tea party also fell out of favor with many people. At its height after the 2010 elections, a CBS News poll found that 31 percent of those surveyed considered themselves tea party supporters. A May survey found just 24 percent identified with the movement.

Facing sagging approval ratings, tea party Republicans, some of whom were elected by slim margins, shifted tactics.

Fla. Gov. Rick Scott, a former health care company executive who won office by attacking the health law and calling for deep cuts to state spending, has embraced the health law and signed one of the largest budgets in state history. Similarly, Republican Govs. John Kasich of Ohio and Rick Snyder of Michigan are battling their GOP-dominated legislatures to expand Medicaid, a big part of the health law.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: NEWSmax.com

Jonathan Alter: 2014 Will Be ‘Big Year for Republicans’.


Best-selling author and veteran journalist Jonathan Alter tells Newsmax that 2014 will be a “big year for Republicans” as Americans go to the polls to vote in congressional elections.

Republicans “have a good chance of winning back the Senate,” says Alter, author of the new book “The Center Holds: Obama and His Enemies.”

Story continues below video.

“They almost certainly will hold the House. It’s very, very tough in a midterm election for the president to gain seats in the sixth year of his presidency. Bill Clinton, because of the backlash against impeachment, was the only one in the whole 20th century who managed to do that. Franklin Roosevelt didn’t do it. None of them did it.

“Also, Republicans vote more in midterm elections than Democrats do. And the Democratic base that elected and re-elected Obama, a lot of them aren’t going to vote. So 2014, no matter how the economy is doing, will be a big year for Republicans. If it’s a bad economy, it could be a very big year for Republicans.”

Asked who in the GOP could defeat Hillary Clinton in a White House race in 2016, Alter tells Newsmax TV: “Anybody who’s nominated by a major party has a very good chance of being elected president. You immediately have 45 percent just by being nominated.

“So there’s a number of Republicans who would have a very good chance of beating Hillary Clinton. Anyone who says that she’s a shoo-in hasn’t been covering American politics as long as I have.”

As for who should get the Republican nomination, Alter observes: “I’d like to see Chris Christie run because he’s a very interesting character. I like the more brainy, more untethered candidates. I’d like to see John Kasich run; Jeb Bush, a very smart guy.

“Maybe it’s the bias of somebody who writes books, but I like politicians who are also thinkers. You want some of that in the presidency.

“I’m very open to a lot of other people. Somebody who’s very, very smart, off the charts smart, is Ted Cruz, but I wouldn’t favor him running because I don’t think he has enough experience yet.”

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Jim Meyers and Kathleen Walter

GOP Governors Heading into 2014 in Strong Position.


Republican governors took over statehouses across the country after the 2010 elections and immediately acted on promises to usher in a new era of budget cutting and conservative labor policies. Public backlash followed just as quickly; they watched their popularity drop while Democrats talked of political retribution.

But now, as they gear up for their re-election campaigns, many GOP governors — particularly those across the upper Midwest — find themselves in positions of strength, having benefited from improving economies if not changes of heart over their policies.

Their improved standing presents stark challenges for Democrats, who had long predicted voters would reject what they called Republican overreach.

President Barack Obama’s party now carries the burden not just of finding strong challengers, which is proving difficult, but also of trying to figure out how to take down governors who aren’t as vulnerable as they had anticipated — Wisconsin’s Scott Walker, Ohio’s John Kasich, Michigan’s Rick Snyder and Iowa’s Terry Branstad.

They won elections as part of the GOP’s banner 2010. Republicans prevailed in 23 out of 37 gubernatorial elections that year, taking control of 11 states where Democrats had held the office. Now, there are 30 Republican governors. And of those, 20 are up for re-election in 2014 — many in states that Obama carried last fall.

Democrats plan to make the case in the runup to next fall’s elections that Obama — not the Republican governors — are responsible for the economic recovery.

“They’ll try to take credit for the national economic recovery, but voters in these states aren’t buying it,” Danny Kanner of the Democratic Governors Association predicted about the GOP incumbents.

To be sure, some swing-state Republican governors elected in 2010 are in serious trouble.

Few voters say Tom Corbett in Pennsylvania and Rick Scott in Florida are doing a good job. Neither has been able to capitalize on their states’ economic recovery. Corbett also faces questions about his effectiveness handling an investigation about sex abuse at Penn State University while he was attorney general. And Scott’s efforts to shift to the center politically haven’t seemed to help his standing.

Sensing opportunity, several Democrats are running in Pennsylvania, while big names such as former Sen. Bill Nelson and former Gov. Charlie Crist are weighing Democratic candidacies in Florida.

And a few other Republican governors up for re-election have stayed reasonably popular, such as New Mexico’s Susana Martinez and Brian Sandoval in Nevada, which was a battleground state in 2012.

In the Midwest, the four GOP governors stand out as an important bloc as Republicans look to lay the groundwork for Midwestern victories in the presidential race in 2016, when the region will offer a significant chunk of the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House.

“In a nation as closely divided as ours, a percent of the vote here or there will really matter in 2016. Having a Republican governor in a swing state can deliver that,” said Phil Musser, a national Republican strategist and adviser to Martinez.

The story is remarkably similar in each of the four states, where in 2010 pro-business conservatives won seats Democrats had held. They set about reversing years of Democratic control in the name of economic competitiveness. Voters initially balked. Then the unemployment rate shrunk. Voters grew happier. And Republicans claimed credit.

Perhaps no one illustrates this dynamic better than Wisconsin’s Walker.

He faced angry crowds in the tens of thousands who vowed to oust him two years ago for signing legislation that stripped public employees of their bargaining power.

Yet, Walker attributed lawmakers’ closing a $3.6-billion budget gap to the measure, and he won a dramatic recall election last summer by a wider margin than his 2011 victory.

Today, Wisconsin Democrats worry they won’t find a candidate up to toppling Walker. He traveled to Iowa last month and is weighing a 2016 presidential campaign, a sign his 2012 recall victory was tantamount to winning re-election, former political aide Dan Blum said.

In Ohio, Kasich also signed legislation limiting public employee unions in 2011. Thousands protested. And Kasich’s opponents overwhelmingly defeated the measure the following November.

He did, however, score a victory when the legislature approved his agenda to lower taxes on income and businesses, specifically the state’s growing energy sector. And unemployment has tumbled steadily, from more than 9 percent when Kasich took office to 7 percent in April. Last year even Kasich chided GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney for decrying the condition of the state’s economy.

It’s unclear how strong of a Democratic challenge he will face. Ohio’s best-known Democrats — former Gov. Ted Strickland and former Attorney General Richard Cordray — have opted not to run. Cuyahoga County Executive Ed Fitzgerald, little known outside of Cleveland, is seeking the Democratic nomination.

In Iowa, Branstad also enacted strict budget measures. But he failed to make headway on education and business tax reform. And he wasn’t able to trim unionized state employee health benefits.

This year, during the last legislative session before election-year politics take precedence, Branstad won long-sought bipartisan deals on taxes, education and health care. And he has presided over a state where unemployment has fallen below 5 percent. So far, only state Sen. Jack Hatch, a Des Moines liberal little-known statewide, has said he expects to run for the Democrats.

And in Michigan, Snyder is the Midwestern foursome’s most vulnerable.

He inflamed the state’s shrinking labor vote in December when he reversed course to sign legislation stripping unions of their ability to force employees to pay dues. Even so, Snyder’s job approval has risen since the he signed the bill, a reflection of improving jobs numbers. Unemployment hit 11 percent in 2011 and was 8.4 percent in April.

Only Democrat Mark Schauer, a former U.S. House member from conservative western Michigan, has said he plans to challenge him.

© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Source: NEWSmax.com

State Ballots Next Battleground Against Obamacare.


By Courtney Coren

Obamacare supporters in predominately Republican states are turning to ballot initiatives to force legislatures to accept billions in federal dollars to expand Medicaid, even in states where GOP governors support it.

Groups in Montana and Ohio, where governors are dealing with GOP-dominated legislatures that are still resistant to backing the expansion of Medicaid under Obamacare, have begun work on a ballot measure for the 2014 elections. Expansion supporters in Florida say it’s something they are considering as well, Politico reports.

“I’m for it however we can get it,” Republican Gov. John Kasich of Ohio, told reporters after a pro-Medicaid expansion rally in May aimed at getting the GOP-dominated legislature to reconsider its rejection of federal money to help expand the state’s program for low-income children and adults.

Editor’s Note: Should ObamaCare Be Repealed? Vote in Urgent National Poll 

However, such moves could backfire, since the repeal of Obamacare was the driving force behind the Republican gains in the House and Senate during the 2010 midterm elections.

“If Obamacare is on the ballot, people will line up to vote against it again,” Montana Republican Party Executive Director Bowen Greenwood told Politico. “Historically, it’s always a major turnout driver for us.”

Obamacare opponents have also used ballot initiatives to mobilize voters against the law. A measure passed in Missouri, for example, blocks the governor from unilaterally creating a health insurance exchange, which has greatly hampered the implementation of the healthcare reform law there.

Obamacare supporters argue that while the healthcare law may be unpopular overall, the Medicaid expansion polls very well among voters, especially since the federal government has promised to pay for the first three years of the expansion and 90 percent of the Medicaid costs to the state in the following years.

According to Politico, supporters also believe that just trying to get the initiative on the ballot before voters could be the impetus to getting governors and legislators to agree on Medicaid expansion.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

White House Open to Medicaid Expansion Using Private Plans.


GOP governors are signing on for the chance to use federal funds to expand Medicaid with private insurance, a more expensive option but also one that would provide coverage to as many people as possible.

Ohio Gov. John Kasich is already in talks with the White House about expanding the program by paying the premiums on commercial insurance, and Republicans in other states, including Florida, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Texas, have expressed interest in the idea, reports The New York Times.

The director of Kasich’s Office of Health Transformation told the newspaper that top White House aide Valerie Jarrett called the governor in January and indicated that the administration was receptive to the idea.

ObamacareMassive New Rules Revealed for 2013

And Gov. Mike Beebe of Arkansas, a Democrat, reportedly got the go ahead from Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius after facing stiff opposition to a straight expansion of Medicaid from Republicans in the state legislature.

“The feds have agreed to do what my legislators in various conversations have asked me to go ask them to do,” Beebe told the Times, adding that it allows Arkansas “to take the Medicaid population and expand it all the way to 138 percent of the poverty level and use federal Medicaid dollars to purchase insurance through the [insurance] exchange.”

That option might also appeal to other Republican state lawmakers, such as those in Florida, who rejected an earlier proposal by Republican Gov. Rick Scott to simply expand Medicaid with federal money.

Advocates for Medicaid beneficiaries, however, are not convinced that using private plans is the best idea. Leonardo Cuello, a lawyer at the National Health Law Program, told the Times that it could reduce protections for beneficiaries and increase costs to the government.

© 2013 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

By Lisa Barron

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