Branstad continues to fight Medicaid expansion

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Gov. Terry Branstad isn’t wavering in his opposition to expanding the state’s Medicaid program calling it a federal straitjacket that the state and federal government can’t afford.

The federal Affordable Care Act recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court encourages states to cover more uninsured people. About 150,000 additional Iowans would be covered initially at federal expense. The state now has 450,000 people on Medicaid.

Branstad says he favors an Iowa-based program that requires everyone to pay something and works with insurers and medical providers to cut costs. He addressed the issue at his Monday news conference.

Democratic Sen. Jack Hatch says he’ll push the Legislature to expand Medicaid saying it would save those who pay premiums money and help hospitals by providing care for those who cannot afford it.