As political debate continues in nearly half of the states in the country over whether to expand their Medicaid programs, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said Monday that her agency was open to discussing with state leaders their proposals on how to provide healthcare to their poorest residents.
Speaking before an annual meeting of the National Conference of State Legislatures, according to published reports, Sebelius urged state lawmakers to move past political debate of the plan that has been a focal point for opposition since the passing of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in 2010.
Under the law, the federal government would pay 100% of the costs for the first three years for states that expand Medicaid coverage to residents making as much as 138% of the federal poverty level. After that, the federal match would phase down to 90% by 2020.
Despite the new funding on the table, only 23 states have opted to expand their Medicaid coverage. Meanwhile, 21 states have declined and six have yet to decide.
During the meeting Monday, a CMS official reportedly told lawmakers the federal government would still pay for the total costs for the implementation of expansion plans adopted by states that decide to participate.