DOVER — Gov. John Carney had his first meeting with President Donald Trump Monday, and he came away disappointed and frustrated.
“We didn’t get many details, frankly,” the Democrat said. “A lot of anecdotes, a lot of campaign rhetoric. He didn’t give anything specific about Medicaid.”
That’s not atypical for the president, who is accustomed to boasts and bold promises but said Monday that “nobody knew that health care could be so complicated.”
While the governor said he did not learn much from the talk with the president, he’s worried about future actions Congress might take. With congressional Republicans pushing for decreased spending, Delaware could start seeing less money from the federal government.
It received $2.09 billion in 2014, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. For comparison, the state’s budget is $4.08 billion this year, although not all of the federal funds go to the general budget.
The meeting with President Trump was part of the 2017 National Governors Association winter gathering. The National Governors Association meets twice a year to discuss both political and personal news, and Monday provided a chance for some governors who were elected in November to have their first interaction with the president.
While Gov. Carney had opportunities to meet with President Barack Obama during his six years in the House of Representatives, those encounters were far different from his initial encounter with the president.
“I went in with high expectations to hear some greater details about the federal government, what his budget must do,” the governor said.
The meeting came one day before President Trump’s first address to Congress, which offered a look at his budget plan and his goals in office.
Among the White House’s top priorities, one shared by congressional Republicans, is repealing the Affordable Care Act. Democrats are opposed to that, but with the GOP in control of the Senate and the House, their options are limited.
A repeal of the ACA, also known as Obamacare, would hit Delaware’s government hard. Because the state expanded Medicaid several years ago, it would be forced to either come up with what could amount $120 million or drop than 10,000 people off Medicaid.
More Delawareans are insured because of the ACA. According to the Department of Health and Social Services, Delaware’s uninsured rate was 11.2 percent in 200 and 5.9 percent in 2015.
Gov. Carney said several governors “had a little back and forth” Monday with Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price over when a replacement plan for ACA would be detailed but Mr. Price would not commit to a date.
Tax reform, an area Gov. Carney was interested in while in Congress, barely came up in the discussion Monday, he said. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said last week he hopes tax reform legislation passes within the next six months.
While state officials are working to deal with the state’s budget woes and Gov. Carney is set to release his proposal near the end of the month, the federal government “could really throw a wrench into those plans,” he said.
Reach staff writer Matt Bittle at firstname.lastname@example.org