KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

In Utah, State Senate Panel OKs Democratic Medicaid Expansion Bill

Meanwhile, supporters of expansion plans in Maine have relaunched their efforts. And Wyoming lawmakers are debating a bill that would block the state from expanding Medicaid for two years while a study is conducted.

Salt Lake City Tribune: Full Medicaid Expansion Clears Hurdle On Way To Utah Senate Floor
Paul Gibbs said his aunt died because she didn't have access to health care and her cancer was detected too late. "As someone who has lost a family member due to them not having health care insurance," Gibbs told lawmakers Tuesday, he believes "Utah has abdicated its responsibility as a family-first state." That argument and others appeared to carry the day as the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee voted 5-1 to send the Medicaid expansion proposal to the full Senate. (Anderson, 2/23)

Deseret News: Senate Committee Backs Full Medicaid Expansion, But Limited House Bill Expected
Last year's most hotly debated legislative topic is finally heating up in the final weeks of the session, with a Senate committee voting Tuesday to advance a Democratic bill calling for full Medicaid expansion. The surprise 5-1 vote by the Senate Judiciary, Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice Committee on SB77, sponsored by Sen. Minority Leader Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City, comes as a new Medicaid plan backed by House leaders is about to be introduced. (Riley Roche, 2/23)

Maine Public Radio: Republican Lawmaker Leads New Medicaid Expansion Proposal
State lawmakers have launched yet another attempt to expand Medicaid health care benefits to 70,000 Mainers, including hundreds who are struggling with opioid drug addiction. Republican Sen. Tom Saviello says his plan will rely on $6 million in state money that would draw down $420 million in federal matching funds. ... This is the sixth attempt in the last few years to expand Medicaid, and Saviello is supported by an influential coalition of groups including the Maine Hospital Association, the Maine Chiefs of Police Association and the Maine Sheriffs Association. (Higgins, 2/23)

Bangor (Maine) Daily News/Sun Journal: New Drive To Expand MaineCare Eligibility Begins
Saying Maine should use available federal funds to help combat its opioid addiction crisis, Sen. Tom Saviello, R-Wilton, launched the latest push to expand the state’s Medicaid program, MaineCare. The sixth effort to expand Medicaid eligibility since 2013 is backed by the state’s hospitals, as well as advocates for low-income Mainers and a portion of Maine’s law enforcement community. (Thistle, 2/23)

Bangor (Maine) Daily News: How A MaineCare Expansion Plan Differs From Past 5 Failures
Little has changed since the five previous times since 2013 that legislators — mostly Democrats — tried but failed to expand Medicaid eligibility, notwithstanding vetoes from Gov. Paul LePage. Saviello’s fellow Republicans, who, in general, make up the opposition over fears that expanding Medicaid — known here as MaineCare — would be too expensive for future taxpayers, hold a majority in the Senate. The new effort ... touts Medicaid expansion as a way for Maine to address a drug addiction crisis. And with a handful of Republican governors in other states changing their positions to allow Medicaid expansion, advocates say there is hope. (Cousins and Shepherd, 2/22)

Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune: Bill Would Block Medicaid Expansion For Another Two Years
The state Legislature, which recently defeated Medicaid expansion, is debating a bill that would create a two-year state study of health coverage for low-income Wyomingites – a measure critics call a delay tactic for helping the poor and the hospitals who serve them. But Sen. Charlie Scott, one of the sponsors of Senate File 86, said the measure is a compromise to Medicaid expansion, since the Legislature appears unwilling to extend the federal program to 20,000 low-income Wyoming adults under the Affordable Care Act. (Hancock, 2/23)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.