February 23

Governors: ‘Obamacare’ here to stay

Governors of both parties shared a more pragmatic outlook on the controversial program known as “Obamacare” as millions of their constituents begin to be covered.

By Steve Peoples and Ken Thomas
The Associated Press

(Continued from page 1)

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Connecticut Gov. Dannel Malloy participates in a special session on jobs in America during the National Governors Association winter meeting in Washington on Sunday.

The Associated Press

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Illinois Gov. Pat Quinn participates in a special session on jobs in America during the National Governor’s Association Winter Meeting in Washington on Sunday.

The Associated Press

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett, a Republican who is among his party’s most vulnerable incumbents in the fall election, said he’s working to expand his state’s Medicaid program, but the process had been cumbersome and difficult. He said it still remained unclear, from a fiscal standpoint, if the health care law would be functioning in two years.

“There are a lot more unknowns than there are knowns,” Corbett said.

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, a Republican, said many governors still have concerns about the program, but that outright repeal would be “complicated.”

Republican campaign officials, meanwhile, plan to make the health care law the overwhelming focus of the coming midterm elections.

From coast to coast, conservatives are attacking Democrats who supported the overhaul, seizing on problems with the program’s website and news that some Americans were forced to change insurers once the law took effect. The conservative group, Americans For Prosperity, has spent more than $20 million on anti-Obamacare television ads in several key states since last August.

The stakes are high for parties battling over control of the House and Senate, while there are also 36 elections for governor, most of them for governors mansions currently held by Republicans. The coming elections also offer prospective 2016 presidential candidates an opportunity to boost their political standing.

Leading GOP figures in the Senate like Ted Cruz of Texas and Marco Rubio of Florida have been vocal critics of the health care law. Cruz mounted a 21-hour Senate speech against Obama’s health law and was tied to the partial government shutdown while Rubio was an early proponent of defunding the health law although he distanced himself from the shutdown.

New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan, a first-term Democrat up for re-election in November, said her state would soon expand its Medicaid program to cover 50,000 uninsured residents.

“Overall, I’m very disappointed with the early implementation and rollout,” she said. “But I think we are making progress.”

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