Trump's Medicaid move may actually prod GOP states to expand

Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Seema Verma listen at right as President Donald Trump speaks during a meeting on women in healthcare, Wednesday, March 22, 2017, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
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WASHINGTON (AP) — In an ironic twist, the Trump administration's embrace of work requirements for low-income people on Medicaid is prompting lawmakers in some conservative states to resurrect plans to expand health care for the poor.

Trump's move has been widely criticized as threatening the Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion. But if states follow through, more Americans could get coverage.

Eighteen states have turned down the expansion. But Republican lawmakers in at least two of those holdout states — Kansas and Utah — now are again considering it.

There's an economic argument for Medicaid expansion since it translates to billions of federal dollars for hospitals and medical service providers. But Republican Mike Leavitt, a former U.S. health secretary and Utah governor, says the ability to impose work requirements adds an ideological motivator.