KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Kansas House Rejects Debate On Medicaid Expansion

In a procedural move, the Kansas House denied efforts by expansion supporters to add the program during a debate on the budget. News outlets also report on Medicaid expansion debates in New Hampshire and Nebraska.

Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal: House Blocks Debate On Medicaid Expansion On Procedural Grounds
The House rejected an attempt Wednesday to force a debate over Medicaid expansion amid work on the state budget. Representatives voted 85-37 to block a Medicaid expansion package on procedural grounds. ... Last year, the House Vision 2020 Committee put forward a Medicaid expansion package, though it wasn’t debated on the House floor. It isn’t entirely clear House leadership would have enough votes to stop expansion from passing the chamber if it was brought up for a vote. Before the 2016 session, House Speaker Ray Merrick, R-Stilwell, also took three Republicans off the House Health and Human Services Committee. All three of the lawmakers are supporters of expansion. (Shorman, 2/10)

KCUR (Kansas City Public Radio): Medicaid Expansion Votes Denied In Both Kansas Chambers
House members were denied a vote on Medicaid expansion on procedural grounds in a floor debate Wednesday that mirrored one the Senate had a day earlier. Rep. Jim Ward, a Democrat from Wichita, tried to attach the amendment to enact expansion during the beginning of an hours-long debate on the state budget. ... He was stymied by a House rule that requires offsetting spending cuts for any amendments that add costs to the budget. Ward disagreed strongly when the rule was invoked. Under the ACA, Medicaid expansion is fully federally funded this year, but the states must kick in 5 percent next year. (Marso, 2/10)

The Associated Press: Republicans Block Kansas House Debate On Medicaid Expansion
The vote Wednesday in the GOP-dominated chamber was 85-37 against debating a proposal from Democratic Rep. Jim Ward of Wichita to expand for three years the health program for the poor, a move encouraged by President Barack Obama's health care law. The Kansas Medicaid program provides coverage for 362,000 poor and disabled Kansans, and Ward's proposal would have provided coverage for another 160,000 people. ... The Kansas Hospital Association and many advocates for the poor and disabled are pushing for an expansion of the Medicaid program. The 2010 federal health care law encouraged states to expand their Medicaid programs by promising that the federal government would pick up almost all of the costs. ... Republican Gov. Sam Brownback and GOP legislative leaders have argued that the federal government can't be trusted to keep its funding promises because of its own budget problems. Opponents also believe expanding Medicaid would be far more expensive for Kansas than supporters of the idea say. (2/10)

Concord (N.H) Monitor: House Gets Closer To Reauthorizing Medicaid Expansion
The Republican-controlled House gave initial approval to a bill that reauthorizes the state’s Medicaid expansion program for two more years. “This is the right thing to do for New Hampshire,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Joe Lachance, a Manchester Republican. “The program is good for our residents, it’s good for our business, why wouldn’t we support this?” The House voted 207-136 in favor of the bill. The 400-member chamber has long been viewed the biggest obstacle for Medicaid expansion, and its initial endorsement Wednesday signals that the proposal may face smooth sailing ahead. (Morris, 2/10)

New Hampshire Union Leader: House Preliminarily Approves Two-Year Extension For Medicaid Expansion
The House made some significant changes to a bill that would extend Medicaid expansion for two more years. The House voted 207-136 to preliminarily approve House Bill 1696, which will have to return to the House for a final vote after the Finance Committee reviews the bill. The House voted down several amendments aimed at scuttling the bill before approving changes to require a person on the program be a state resident and participants would not open a person to a federal background check. (Rayno, 2/10)

The Associated Press: New Nebraska Medicaid Bill Reopens Old Divide In Hearing
The newest attempt to expand health care coverage with Medicaid dollars reopened an old divide Wednesday before a Nebraska legislative committee. A coalition of doctors, hospitals, local governments and uninsured residents urged lawmakers to advance the bill. Conservative groups and members of Gov. Pete Ricketts' administration argued before the Health and Human Services Committee that the proposal is unsustainable. (Schulte, 2/11)

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