POLICY: A Blue state Republican talks about expanding healthcare access

One of the great ironies of American political life is that three of the biggest Blue states have Republican Governors. One of those governors (and of course it’s not Arnie or Pati-Pati-Aki) has developed a plan for universal health care, of sorts. OK so he’s been forced into it by the Democrats who run the rest of the state, and he doesn’t want to put any more money into it but Massachusetts’ own Mormon Mitt Romney is at least talking   about expanding healthcare to the uninsured.

His theory is that he can expand Medicaid (i.e. get the Feds to pay) to more of the uninsured, relax state mandates on insurers so that cheaper plans can be offered to the working poor, and expand the state’s community clinic program. Ideologically this isn’t a million miles away from what Bush sort of hinted at in the campaign. But this is a real announcement, and we haven’t heard Bush say anything nationally–and we won’t. So look to state experiments, and hope that the fate of Tenncare isn’t shared everywhere else they try to extend health coverage. And for the time being we can all go along with the fiction that no real subsidies are needed to get health insurance to the working poor.

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