Did President Reagan Expand Medicaid “Three or Four Times”?
At last night’s Republican presidential debate in Cleveland, a number of claims were made related to the budget and fiscal policy. Gov. John Kasich (R-OH) defended his decision to accept the Medicaid expansion in his home state of Ohio in part by saying that “President Reagan expanded Medicaid three or four times.”
This statement is true. President Reagan signed legislation expanding Medicaid on several occasions. From 1982 to 1988, Reagan signed legislation mandating coverage for children and pregnant women receiving cash assistance, mandating emergency treatment of illegal immigrants who would otherwise be eligible for Medicaid, and expanding the low-income populations that states could choose to cover, among other expansions. For more information, see a brief history of Medicaid from the Kaiser Family Foundation.