GOP presidential candidate Rep. Steve Scalise (R-LA) said Friday he’s open to allowing states to decide whether to expand Medicaid, the federal health care program for low-income Americans.
“I think the answer is yes, I’d be open to that,” Scalise told reporters.
“We’re talking about the Affordable Care Act.
I don’t think there should be a mandate to expand that program.
I think the Medicaid expansion has worked out great for Louisiana, so I think we should go ahead and expand that.”
On Thursday, Republican lawmakers in the House and Senate passed their version of the bill, the American Health Care Act, that would allow states to waive a requirement that people obtain health insurance or pay a penalty to the federal government.
Under the Senate bill, however, states would still be required to offer health insurance coverage to their residents regardless of whether they expanded Medicaid under the legislation.
The bill would also repeal an Obama-era rule that allowed insurers to charge older Americans higher premiums than younger ones and to stop covering coverage for pregnant women and other pregnant women.
Scalise’s comments come as the Senate is considering a version of its version of legislation that includes provisions to allow states, along with insurers, to opt out of the individual mandate that requires Americans to have health insurance.
If Republicans’ healthcare plan becomes law, it would take effect on Jan. 1.
It would be the first time the Senate has adopted legislation that does not include the individual mandates.
The president has repeatedly said he would veto the Senate-passed bill, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R, Ky.) has said he has no intention of doing so.
Scalia has criticized the legislation as a “political stunt” that would make the government less efficient.
He has said it would cost the country as much as $1 trillion over a decade.
The Louisiana congressman, who was elected to Congress in 2014, said Friday that he had not yet heard from Trump.
He said he will be following the bill closely.