Boehner: 'Giving People Medicaid Insurance Is Almost Like Giving Them Nothing'

By Susan Jones | May 4, 2015 | 8:30am EDT

( - Under Obamacare, more people may be insured, but that isn't helping them much, House Speaker John Boehner told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday.

"You know why there are more people insured?" Boehner asked host Chuck Todd. "Because a lot more people are on Medicaid.

"And giving -- you know, we expanded Medicaid in a big way. And giving people Medicaid insurance is almost like giving them nothing. Because there aren't -- you can't find a doctor that will see Medicaid patients. And so where do they end up? The same place they used to end up, in the emergency room."

Currently, 30 states, including the District of Columbia, have expanded Medicaid; 17 states have refused to do so; and four states are considering an expansion of their Medicaid rolls.

As written, the Affordable Care Act required the states to expand Medicaid coverage for low-income Americans earning up to 138 percent of the poverty threshhold. The federal government would pay 100 percent of the added costs for two years, through 2016, and a declining share thereafter, until 2020 when it would pay 90 percent.

But in 2012, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Medicaid expansion must be optional for the states.

This year, the Supreme Court is expected to decide another key element of the Democrats' health care law: Whether the Internal Revenue Service, by regulation, may extend tax-credit subsidies to people who buy their health insurance on exchanges established by the federal government, when the Affordable Care Act specifically authorizes subsidies for health coverage that is purchased through an "Exchange established by the State."

Removing subsidies for people who enrolled through the federal marketplace would make health insurance unaffordable for millions of Americans.

"Do you have your plan b ready?" Chuck Todd asked Boehner in the pre-taped interview that aired on Sunday.

"Not yet. I think our three House chairmen are looking on this," Boehner responded. "We are beginning the process of working with Senate Republicans, because I think it's important we are on the same page in terms of what are our responses if the court rules against the Obama administration."

Also See:

Republicans Ask HHS, What If SCOTUS Guts Obamacare?

Burwell: HHS Cannot 'Undo the Damage' Administratively If SCOTUS Guts Obamacare

Opening Brief in Major Obamacare Challenge Filed With Supreme Court

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