Pressure is mounting on Gov. Mary Fallin to go along to get along on Medicaid expansion. Meantime, Fallin was among those putting pressure on U.S. House members to provide relief for Superstorm Sandy victims.
Conservative Republican governors such as Fallin were cool to Medicaid expansion and its ties to Obamacare. The U.S. Supreme Court last year ruled that Obamacare is constitutional but states could opt out of Medicaid expansion. Fallin has opted out. So far.
But other conservative Republican governors are opting in. The latest is Arizona's Jan Brewer, widely known for giving Barack Obama a piece of her mind a year ago on an airport tarmac. Brewer doesn't like Obamacare but says she will push for a Medicaid expansion that will, initially, be funded with more deficit spending.
Florida Gov. Rick Scott is considering expansion because of pressure within his state. Still holding out, in addition to Fallin, are Rick Perry of Texas, Bobby Jindal of Louisiana and Nikki Haley of South Carolina.
Fallin has taken heat for looking a gift (Trojan) horse in the mouth. Her stand is principled as well as political. Obama and Obamacare aren't popular here. Expanding Medicaid, although it would cost the state relatively little now, could be an enormous expense later. And of course Washington isn't awash with non-borrowed cash.
But Fallin joined other conservatives in urging passage of a debt-financed hurricane relief bill. Among those cool to the idea were Oklahoma's two newest U.S. House members. Their opposition was also part political and part principled: Relief bills tend to get larded up with non-relief related appropriations.
Despite that, a letter that Fallin signed said disaster relief “is not and never should be a political issue.” Anything Congress does is inherently political. The relief bill will get done, even if loaded with pork. As for Fallin caving on Medicaid, that's still not a sure bet.