The GOP-led state legislatures of Idaho, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota are debating a bill that would allow states to opt-out of the federal government’s Medicaid program.
The bill would allow those states to choose their own Medicaid providers and make the program more competitive with private insurers.
The Idaho Senate approved the bill on Thursday, with all three Republican governors endorsing it.
The House is expected to take up the bill at a later date.
In Nebraska, Republican Gov.
Brian Schweitzer voted for the bill.
“I think it’s important to make sure that Medicaid continues to be accessible and that states have choices,” Schweitzer said in a statement.
“It’s important for all of us to have the ability to access the Medicaid that we need to provide the services we need, and I think it is critical that we make sure those choices are made,” Schweitz added.
Kansans Republican Gov.-elect Phil Scott voted against the bill, but did support an alternative version that would have exempted Idaho, Nebraska, and South Dakotans from the Medicaid expansion.
Scott, a former state senator, was the first governor in the state to vote for an alternative Medicaid expansion in 2013, according to the Kansas State Journal.
Republicans in South Dakota, Nebraska’s largest state, also opposed the bill but support for the alternative version of the Medicaid bill has grown.
South Dakota Gov.
Doug Burgum, a Republican, told the Kansas City Star he would not sign the bill because he believes that “we should not have a choice” about where to send people to receive Medicaid.
Supporters of the bill say the changes would help South Dakota reduce its uninsured rate.
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