A leading advocate of health care expansion says he's optimistic Iowa will expand Medicaid coverage to thousands of uninsured residents under a federal health care law despite opposition by Republican legislators and the governor.
Des Moines Democratic Sen. Jack Hatch tells The Associated Press that after the general election, he'll lay out a plan to Republicans that will be hard to oppose.
Under the federal plan, it would cost state taxpayers $237 million over eight years to insure 182,000 additional people through Medicaid.
The federal government would pick up all costs for three years, with that share dropping to 90 percent by the eighth year.
Branstad and other Republican governors say they won't participate in the program.
Tim Albrecht, the governor's spokesman, says the effort is expensive, unsustainable and inflexible.