Enrollment in new Obamacare exchanges may be lagging, but experts said Thursday that the health law’s massive expansion of Medicaid could place more than 8 million low-income people in the program before the first year is up.
“I think it’s definitely realistic,” Matt Salo, head of the National Association of Medicaid Directors, said at a POLITICO Pro Health Care Breakfast Briefing in downtown Washington.
That projection comes despite a sense among some industry officials that 24 Republican states rejecting expansion will stay entrenched in their opposition. Bruce Siegel, CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, said states are likely to remain in a holding pattern until the 2014 election. And based on Gov. Rick Scott’s support of expansion in Florida, the gubernatorial race there could be a tipping point.
“Gov. Scott did come out [in favor of expansion]. I’m not sure he put a lot of energy behind it,” Siegel said. “It’ll be a dividing line in that election. How that state goes … will be a big foundation on how this may move in some states afterwards.”