KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Ark. Governor Finds Himself In Unlikely Role Of Trying To Rescue Medicaid Expansion

Asa Hutchinson was an ardent foe of the federal health law, but as governor he is working to convince other Republicans in the legislature to keep the program started by his Democratic predecessor. Also, lawmakers in Idaho are dealing with the issue of expansion as the session winds down.

The Associated Press: 'Obamacare' Foe Tries To Save Expanded Medicaid In Arkansas
But two years after winning office with 55 percent of the vote, [Arkansas Gov. Asa] Hutchinson has executed a surprising political turnabout and become the leading rescuer of the one of "Obamacare's" most embattled elements, the expansion of Medicaid. He's now imploring Republican lawmakers to keep Arkansas' hybrid version of the expanded insurance program for low-income people, which was pushed through by his Democratic predecessor, Mike Beebe, and is warning about the potential impact of ending it for a rural state with limited revenue and many living near the poverty line. (DeMillo, 3/24)

Idaho Statesman: Idaho Senate Brings Back Medicaid Expansion Bill
Rejecting action by the House a day earlier, the Idaho Senate on Thursday resurrected a proposal to begin prompt negotiations with federal officials for a way to provide subsidized health care for 78,000 poor Idahoans who have none. ... Gov. Butch Otter told the Times-News Thursday that he supports beginning the Medicaid expansion waiver application process as soon as possible. “The sooner that we can start that, the better prepared we’re going to be,” he said. (Dentzer, 3/24)

Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News: Legislature Down To The Wire On Medicaid Plan
The Idaho House will meet again on Good Friday to vote on a bill that would have the director of the Department of Health and Welfare apply for a Medicaid expansion waiver, paving the way for an Idaho-run health program designed for the state’s working poor. The Senate finished up for the year Thursday evening after passing both the waiver bill and a related funding bill. The House also passed the funding bill 40-29 Thursday evening before adjourning for the day, setting up Friday’s expected waiver debate. (Brown, 3/25)

The Associated Press: Idaho's Health Care Gap Dominates Last Days Of Legislature
Idaho House lawmakers on Thursday punted on approving a proposal to allow the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to apply for a Medicaid waiver to provide health insurance for people who have incomes below 100 percent of the federal poverty line. House Speaker Scott Bedke says the House will take up the contentious legislation on Friday, the same day the Legislature would adjourn for the year. (Kruesi, 3/25)

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