Inslee embraces Medicaid expansion

Governor candidate calls its key part of health care law

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FEDERAL WAY — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jay Inslee is fully embracing the expansion of Medicaid health coverage, saying Thursday he believes it is one of the transformational parts of President Barack Obama's health care law.

In outlining his health care plans, Inslee said the Medicaid expansion will have financial benefits by covering all the uncompensated care that occurs in hospitals. The federal government will cover all the costs of the newly eligible enrollees, with the state picking up some of the tab eventually.

"The Affordable Care Act is a landmark bill for many reasons -- chief among them is the generous financial support to states for the expansion of Medicaid," Inslee's campaign says in a policy paper.

The GOP worries that the federal government won't live up to its obligations in the long run, shifting more of the cost burden onto the states in the future.

Inslee's GOP rival, Rob McKenna, has noted that the expansion will make roughly one-third of the state eligible for Medicaid. He hasn't explicitly said how he will handle the expansion.