Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley, a potential Democratic presidential nominee in 2016, joked today that some Republican governors probably want to secede from the United States. On a healthcare conference call organized by the Obama campaign, Salon asked O’Malley and Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick if they anticipate that any of their Republican colleagues will try to get out of the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, in light of yesterday's Supreme Court ruling.
“Oh, I don’t know. I suppose, you know, some of our colleagues would like to get out of being members of the Union. So -- and by that, I mean the United States. So I mean, who can predict what some of the ideologues on their side of aisle will choose,” O’Malley replied.
Obama’s healthcare law compelled states to expand their Medicaid rolls by threatening to withhold other Medicaid funds if they don’t comply. But Chief Justice John Roberts’ opinion yesterday gave states more leeway to opt out, and several Republican governors have vowed to fight the expansion.
“For our part, we believe that by improving the health and wellness of our people, by bringing down healthcare costs long term, that makes our states more competitive for jobs and opportunities. So that’s what we’re going to do," O’Malley said.