Governor Burgum Should Tell Us His Position on Potential Medicaid Changes

Yesterday the Senate Republicans released their second version of health care reform. I wrote one thing that was left unchanged from previous versions was the cost shift of Medicaid from the federal government to the states. Because of that persistent focus to change Medicaid funding, we should know where North Dakota Governor Doug Burgum stands.

The Senate Republicans have crafted their bill behind closed doors and without public input. There have been zero public hearings. It is an atrocious way to legislate something that impacts every single American and one-sixth of the economy. One group that should be demanding input? Governors.

Some Governors have released their sentiment to the public on what U.S. Senators are doing. It isn’t just Democratic Governors who think the Senate plan is “unacceptable.” Take this tweet from Republican Governor John Kasich of Ohio as an example of the bipartisan frustration toward DC changes:

Governor Burgum should be making it known whether he supports the cost shift to North Dakota in a time when our budget has been cut to balance. Does Burgum believe there are enough resources to ensure sustained coverage for Medicaid Expansion recipients? Some estimates suggest we’d need to increase our funding for that program by 400%.  What are his thoughts on traditional Medicaid expenditures like those that go to nursing homes and children with disabilities? Has he talked to experts in his administration like Maggie Anderson on what these Medicaid changes will mean for state services?

Perhaps the Governor has. I hope so because these changes will put significant burdens on the state. I think it would be wise for him and someone within the Medicaid division in the Department of Human Services to issue a public stance. He has the bully pulpit in the state. We deserve to hear his concerns or position of support and what he intends to do if this bill were to pass in its current form.

Tyler Axness