January 2, 2016

Governor Matt Bevin has caved on the Medicaid expansion, but he's trying to make it look like it's not a cave, because he has wealthy people to keep promises to. Instead of "immediately reversing" Kentucky's Medicaid expansion, Bevin is looking to modify it. Because those federal funds have got to keep flowing in to keep the state afloat, after all.

It looks like Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) will be sticking to the promises about Medicaid he made towards the end of his gubernatorial campaign, instead of those made at its beginning. The Tea Party candidate laid out Wednesday his plans to "transform" -- rather than entirely dismantle -- the Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

"We are going to transform the way Medicaid is delivered in Kentucky and this transformation I think will be a model to the nation," Bevin said at a press conference Wednesday.

By continuing Medicaid's expansion under Obamacare, Bevin will join a long line of GOP governors who have railed against the program but eventually come around to supporting it. The pattern is well-established and often includes negotiating with the federal government a special carve-out for a state-specific version of the program, a way to save political face by not seeming to have caved and become an Obamacare supporter.

HHS is pretty firm about what they will and won't approve with regard to the Medicaid waivers. They'll likely allow some kind of small co-pay or payment for coverage similar to the other Republican states, but overall, that expansion will stay firmly in place, as it should.

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