Healthcare reformers seek to expand Medicaid, but coverage mandates could hinder the process

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With Barack Obama officially sworn in as president, many in Washington are wondering whether 2009 will be a year of significant reform. There are still numerous barriers that must be removed before moving forward, according to recent news analyses.

One of the more sweeping reform proposals is an expansion of Medicaid under the Obama administration. The newly sworn in Commander-in-Chief has previously discussed allowing more low-income citizens to enroll in the program, creating small employer tax credits and broadening the program to cover catastrophic costs for individual plan members, reports the Bureau of National Affairs. These proposals, which were made during the campaign, would cost roughly $50 billion to $65 billion annually, the news service reports.

One reform stumbling block has emerged over coverage mandates. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) in his healthcare reform proposal would mandate coverage for all Americans. Obama, on the other hand, would mandate coverage only for all children.