A spurt of Republican states changing their minds on Medicaid expansion backs up an optimistic argument you hear a lot in health-policy circles: It took a long time for all 50 states to sign up for the original Medicaid program, and the expansion will unfold in the same way — slowly but surely.

If the analogy holds, the takeaway is not to get too concerned about Medicaid expansion: Even the reddest states can only deny federal money to their hospitals, doctors and insurers for so long, which means that poorer Americans in every state will get coverage eventually. The federal government should keep doing what it's doing – offering compromises, and letting pressure from state lobbying groups do the rest.

But interviews with hospital and insurer associations in states that have yet to expand Medicaid suggest that "eventually" could be a lot longer this time around. If so, the federal government might need a change in tack, as it tries to extend coverage to almost 5 million people.

Complete your profile to continue reading and get FREE access to BenefitsPRO, part of your ALM digital membership.

  • Critical BenefitsPRO information including cutting edge post-reform success strategies, access to educational webcasts and videos, resources from industry leaders, and informative Newsletters.
  • Exclusive discounts on ALM, BenefitsPRO magazine and BenefitsPRO.com events
  • Access to other award-winning ALM websites including ThinkAdvisor.com and Law.com

© 2024 ALM Global, LLC, All Rights Reserved. Request academic re-use from www.copyright.com. All other uses, submit a request to [email protected]. For more information visit Asset & Logo Licensing.