The head of the leading hospital advocacy group is pessimistic that states will undertake the voluntary Medicaid expansion called for by the 2010 healthcare overhaul.
Richard Umbdenstock, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, at a Thursday policy breakfast sponsored by a Washington politics publication, gave little chance that all states would expand their Medicaid programs after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down penalties for not doing so.
Umbdenstock said he “wished I could be as positive” about the likelihood of a full Medicaid expansion as two health policy experts at the same event who expressed confidence that states would expand fully. Many Republican governors have expressed hesitancy or outright opposition to expanding eligibility to their Medicaid programs to all residents with incomes of up to 133% of the federal poverty level, or as high as 138% of the federal poverty level by 2014. The governors have said their concerns about expansion are based on the large costs of various types that it will carry but critics counter that it is simply due to underlying political opposition to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.