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More GOP governors agreeing to expand Medicaid; Gov. Walker undecided


MADISON, WI (WTAQ) - As Governor Scott Walker considers expanding Medicaid, more of his GOP brethren from around the country are agreeing to do it.

This week, Rick Snyder of Michigan became the sixth Republican governor to accept the option of expanding the state and federal health plans for the poor and elderly.

Eleven GOP governors have said no, while 12 others – including Walker – have yet to say what they’ll do.

In Wisconsin, an expansion of Medicaid would allow more low-income adults without children to be covered in programs like BadgerCare Plus. Nationally, the goal is to reduce the estimated 15 percent of Americans who don’t have health insurance.

Until now, Republican state leaders around the country have been strongly opposed to the optional parts of the Obama health package.

Walker refused late last year to allow the state to set up its own purchasing exchanges that are tailored to Wisconsinites when they buy coverage after the purchasing mandate begins in 2014.

The federal government has agreed to pick up most of the added costs for Medicaid. That’s breaking down some of the GOP opposition. And some governors believe it will make fewer people show up at hospitals without insurance.

Walker’s office refuses to say what it will do until the governor proposes his next state budget to the Legislature on February 20th. This week, a Walker spokesman said there was no guarantee that Washington won’t cut back on its promised payments in the future.