A group of religious leaders is demanding that states that haven't yet embraced Obamacare's Medicaid expansion do so, calling the lack of health coverage in those states for poor adults "a moral crisis" that shouldn't be subject to political feuding.
Those leaders also said that even if politicians don't buy into the moral argument, the money that would flow to those 24 remaining states and businesses if they expanded Medicaid eligibility to more than 5 million adults is just too good to pass up.
"The fact is, we cannot afford to not expand Medicaid," said the Rev. Raphael Warnock, senior pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, during a conference call with reporters and other religious leaders.
"I don't think in the past 50 years we have seen the kind of obstruction of a law passed by Congress, supported by the Supreme Court, as we are seeing right now now," said Warnock, whose church was previously headed by civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. "It's not just politically wrong, it's morally wrong. It's not the difference between left and right, it's the difference between right and wrong."
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The states that have blocked Medicaid expansion are overwhelmingly led by Republican governors who oppose Obamacare, and who have objected to the additional costs that will come from insuring more people.
But some Republican-led states have embraced Medicaid expansion because the federal government will foot all of the bill for the newly covered in the first three years, and then 90 percent of the costs thereafter in perpetuity—a much better financial deal for states compared with the roughly 50-50 split they have with the federal government for previously eligible Medicaid recipients.
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, a conservative Republican who is considered a possible GOP presidential contender in 2016, last week said he wanted his state to expand Medicaid eligibility.