The Washington Times - July 11, 2012, 10:14AM

Low-income Americans whose states refuse to expand their Medicaid programs won’t have to pay the penalty for failing to obtain health insurance, the Obama administration said Tuesday.

Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius wrote in a letter to governors that if they opt out of the health care law’s massive Medicaid expansion, their residents who would have been newly eligible for the low-income federal health program won’t be subject to the individual mandate fine, according to the Associated Press.

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While the Supreme Court called President Obama’s health care law constitutional last month, the justices said states can opt out of the Medicaid expansion without losing any of their existing federal funding for the program — potentially leaving low-income Americans without access to affordable health coverage.

A half-dozen Republican governors, including Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Gov. Rick Scott, already have said they won’t expand their Medicaid programs, and a handful of other governors still are considering the question.