Paper cutout of family Any deals would bring the country closer to fulfilling the promise of the 2010 law, a pillar of Biden's agenda, and begin to reverse Trump administration efforts to weaken public programs. (Photo: Shutterstock)

President Joe Biden has an unexpected opening to cut deals with red states to expand Medicaid, raising the prospect that the new administration could extend health protections to millions of uninsured Americans and reach a goal that has eluded Democrats for a decade.

The opportunity emerges as the COVID-19 pandemic saps state budgets and strains safety nets. That may help break the Medicaid deadlock in some of the 12 states that have rejected federal funding made available by the Affordable Care Act, health officials, patient advocates and political observers say.

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