KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Key House Republican Dismisses Chances For Obama’s Plan To Offer Extra Medicaid Funding

President Barack Obama has called for the federal government to cover the full funding of Medicaid expansion for three years for any states that move to expand the program. That would give them the same benefits that states that moved earlier received. Also in the news are reports on expansion debates in New Hampshire and Idaho.

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Obama's Medicaid Expansion Plan Faces Tough Climb In Congress
President Barack Obama's gambit to financially entice more states to follow Louisiana's lead and expand Medicaid coverage will be facing a tortuous climb through Congress in the coming weeks. The third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives, Majority Whip Steve Scalise, R-Jefferson, said in a recent interview that he doesn't see the president's most recent offer standing much chance of passing either GOP-led chamber. (Rainey, 1/28)

The Concord Monitor: House Republicans Debate Medicaid Expansion Bill Backed By GOP Leadership
A Republican-authored bill to reauthorize Medicaid expansion faced its fiercest criticism from other Republicans during a public hearing Thursday, setting the stage of an intraparty fight over whether New Hampshire will keep more than 45,000 low-income residents on subsidized health insurance. The state’s Medicaid expansion program is set to end this year unless the Legislature votes to reauthorize it. (Morris, 1/29)

New Hampshire Union Leader: Medicaid Expansion Draws More Than 200 At Hearing
A recovering drug addict and the president of the state’s largest health insurer were among those at a hearing Thursday who testified in favor of expanding Medicaid two more years. Most of the criticism of the plan to continue health coverage for about 47,000 state residents came from GOP lawmakers, who said state taxpayers could ill afford to commit scarce dollars to a program that has failed to deliver on its promises. (Rayno, 1/28)

The Concord Monitor: Medicaid Expansion Enrollees Testify At State House
Joy Martell used heroin for seven years before she ended up in jail on possession charges. Before that, the Manchester resident tried several times to get help, but without insurance, all the treatment programs were too expensive. But when Martell got out of jail in September, things changed. She became insured through the state’s Medicaid expansion program and started receiving treatment. The 28-year-old has now been clean for five months, and on Thursday she showed up at the State House to tell her story to lawmakers, a group that will decide this year whether to extend the health care program for two more years. (Morris, 1/29)

New Hampshire Public Radio: Medicaid Expansion Extension Gets First Public Hearing -- And Support From DHHS
Newly confirmed New Hampshire Health and Human Services Commissioner Jeffrey Meyers spent part of his first official day on the job lending his support to a plan to extend the state’s Medicaid expansion another two years. In his previous role as the health department's intergovernmental affairs director, Meyers had a main part in implementing New Hampshire's Medicaid expansion over the last two years. The Executive Council confirmed Meyers as commissioner Wednesday. (McDermott, 1/28)

Twin Falls (Idaho) Times-News: Medicaid Expansion To Get Hearing In Senate Committee
Two bills to expand Medicaid in Idaho are expected to get a hearing Tuesday. The state’s Democrats have pushed the idea for several years and Republicans have resisted for just as long. "Out of personal courtesy and professional courtesy to one of my colleagues, we will hear the bill,” Senate Health and Welfare Chairman Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls said. (Brown, 1/28)

The Associated Press: Idaho Legislature Schedules Medicaid Expansion Hearing
Idaho's Republican-dominated Legislature has consistently refused to consider expanding Medicaid - a provision under the Affordable Care Act. However, lawmakers have acknowledged for years that the state's current system of caring for the indigent is broken. Heider says he approved the hearing as a courtesy to Schmidt's longtime work on the issue. Meanwhile, Schmidt said that he doubts the bill will pass, but he's thankful for the opportunity. (1/28)

Idaho Statesman: Medicaid Expansion Plan Gets First-Ever Hearing In Idaho
The hearing is expected to draw quite a crowd. Medicaid expansion has been blocked in the legislature by Republicans over objections to further implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare. With expansion stalled, Gov. Butch Otter’s administration this year proposed a state-funded plan to subsidize basic preventive care for up to 78,000 low-income Idahoans who don’t qualify for Medicaid currently, or for insurance subsidies available on the state health insurance exchange. The state program is not insurance and would not cover emergency or chronic care or prescriptions. (Dentzer, 1/28)

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