Medicaid expansion scorecard: So far, it's NPRI vs. everyone else

In the wake of Gov. Brian Sandoval's decision to expand Medicaid, the praise has flowed and the brickbats are few.

Gov. Sunny tried to head off any criticism from the right with his announcment headline: "Governor Brian Sandoval today announced he will include 78,000 additional people in Nevada’s Medicaid Program and decrease the Modified Business Tax for Nevada businesses"

But that sop -- decreasing what might be the dumbest tax Nevada ever enacted (this is a stiff competition) -- and the claim that the move will save money (!) did not dissuade the conservative think tank, the Nevada Policy Research Institute, from weighing in with its by-now-familiar criticisms of the idea.

I know some Democrats have privately wondered if the scenery-chewing announcement, done through an interview with AP veteran Sandra Chereb, was designed to obscure the administration's delay in giving the Legislature a lot of information about Sandoval's budget for as long as possible. But most Democrats and their allies are thrilled, as you can see from the attached letter from SEIU.

The decision was never much in doubt, but Sandoval's almost tortured statement announcing it after Chereb broke the news emphasized his continued opposition to Obamacare, even though he has now implemented two key provisions other Republican governors have avoided: The Medicaid expansion and the health exchange. Oh, and he wanted folks to know he could always change his mind during the session and he is for "Medicaid patient responsibility cost-sharing measures."

Has there ever been a more caveated (new word) decision?

Also out with statements of support are state Senate Republicans (attached here), Sen. Dean Heller (who told the RJ's Steve Tetreault he backs Sandoval's decision)  and, of course, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, who all but deified the man he once took out of politics by appointing him to the federal bench, only to watch him leave and club his son to become governor (and now, perhaps, preparing to take on Dad).

The Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada gave me a statement that praised, took credit and chastsied (that's talent!):

"We are thankful that after months of pressure from members and activists of PLAN, and our member groups ProgressNow Nevada and SEIU 1107 + allies from around the state, Governor Sandoval--who has never stood in the way of Obamacare implementation--has finally decided to do what's right and expand Medicaid coverage. This move will save money for our state, but more importantly, with the full and swift implementation of the Silver State Health Exchange, this decision saves lives.

"What we find disturbing is Governor Sandoval expects medicaid recipients to 'share' the costs; perhaps with a co-pay. He either doesn't understand, or doesn't care about the dire economic circumstances of Nevadans who are eligible for Medicaid.

"We look forward to this debate and are hopeful that the legislature will come up with a sensible and fair way to expand Medicaid coverage."

Still waiting on Democratic lawmakers to fawn....