States moving ahead on Medicaid

June 22, 2012 at 4:57 PM

WASHINGTON, June 22 (UPI) -- Officials in several U.S. states say they are moving ahead on Medicaid expansion regardless of how the Supreme Court rules on President Obama's healthcare plan.

The plan would add between 16 million and 20 million people to Medicaid rolls by 2014.

Expansion was discussed during a conference call organized Wednesday by State Refor(u)m, which brings together state officials to talk about the Affordable Care Act, Politico reported.

The Supreme Court is expected to rule Monday, the last day of its term, on the healthcare law. It could leave the law intact, throw it out entirely or leave parts of it in place.

The act included billions of dollars in aid to states to pay for Medicaid expansion.

"There is an underlying approach that says much of what we've already committed to we'd continue," Rhode Island Medicaid Director Elena Nicolella said Wednesday during the call.

She said the state would have to set priorities if the federal funding is stripped away.

Nathan Johnson of the Washington State Health Care Authority said officials there are "proceeding with optimism" while acknowledging the financial uncertainty.

In New Mexico, 25 percent of residents are covered by Medicaid. Medicaid Director Julie Weinberg said a reform plan called Centennial Care will go ahead no matter what the Supreme Court does.

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