02/25/2014 01:20 pm ET Updated Feb 25, 2014

Kathleen Sebelius: GOP Governors Are 'Playing Politics With People's Lives' On Medicaid

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius lashed out at GOP governors on Tuesday for "playing politics" on Medicaid expansion.

In an interview with HuffPost Live, Sebelius lamented the struggle of residents in several states -- namely North Carolina, Texas, Georgia and Florida -- where Medicaid expansion has not been taken up as part of the Affordable Care Act.

"Unfortunately, what I think we have in a large case is governors playing politics with people's lives and people's health," Sebelius said. "There's no reason that this return on investment isn't a very positive thing because there's a cost of doing nothing in those states."

Sebelius singled out Texas as a "great example," noting that 23 percent of residents in that state have no health insurance. Gov. Rick Perry (R) has been a firm opponent of Medicaid expansion, going so far as to liken the policy to April Fool's Day.

"Seems to me April Fool's Day is the perfect day to discuss something as foolish as Medicaid expansion, and to remind everyone that Texas will not be held hostage by the Obama administration's attempt to force us into the fool's errand of adding more than a million Texans to a broken system," Perry told reporters in April 2013.

"It's really about his own ideological battle with the president of the United States," Sebelius said Tuesday in response to Perry's opposition. "Unfortunately, in this case, people's health is at stake."



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