As per Politico, Gov. Chris Christie of NJ will announce later today that his state will participate in the Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. He thus joins Gov’s Rick Scott and John Kasich in the group of Republican governors signing on to the deal wherein the Feds pay for 100% percent of the expanded coverage for three years and at least 90% after that.
Gov Christie has shown, to his credit, a strong pragmatic streak that has sometimes led him to less partisan positions, but the thing that strikes me regarding these developments is how the economics, which heavily favor states taking up the expansion, are trumping the ideology.
With an economy-damaging sequester about to hit, it’s interesting to ask oneself what’s behind this ACA trump versus the ideologically-driven gridlock on the automatic cuts. Certainly one answer is that governors actually have to deal with real problems, like the uninsured, whereas members of Congress don’t so much. Governors have to be accountable; members of Congress, not so much. And since they don’t need to be pragmatic, they can take stands that make little sense to most people but appeal to their funders or some segment of their base.