KHN Morning Briefing

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La. Governor Announces Medicaid Expansion Will Begin June 1, Save State $677M Over 5 Years

About 375,000 people in Louisiana are expected to enroll in the program for low-income residents. At the same time, officials in Arkansas continue wrestling with the governor's plan to end the political impasse over expansion.

New Orleans Times-Picayune: Medicaid Expansion To Save Louisiana $677 Million Over Next 5 Years
Medicaid expansion is estimated to save Louisiana $677 million over the next five years and more than $1 billion over the next decade, Department of Health and Hospitals officials told Senate Health and Welfare Committee members Monday (April 18). The cost estimates came after Gov. John Bel Edwards testified before the committee about his decision to expand Medicaid eligibility to about 375,000 people between July 1 and June 30, 2017. (Litten, 4/18)

Times Record: Arkansas Governor: Medicaid Veto Strategy Will Work If Dems Support It
Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Monday that three of the 10 Republican state senators who oppose funding his Medicaid expansion plan have said they are willing to go along with a strategy that would allow the funding to pass without their direct support. But Democrats who support Medicaid expansion also would have to go along for the strategy to work, and it was unclear Monday whether they would. (Lyon, 4/19)

The Associated Press: Hutchinson Tries To Sway Democrats On Backup Medicaid Plan
Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson and legislative leaders tried to persuade skeptical Democrats Monday to support a plan to save Arkansas' hybrid Medicaid expansion by initially voting to defund the subsidized health insurance for thousands of poor people. Hutchinson promised to defend any Democrats criticized for supporting the defunding measure under the approach, which is aimed at allowing the governor to reinstate the hybrid expansion through a line-item veto. House Democrats said they were looking at ways to ensure the legality of the unusual parliamentary procedure that supporters hoped would break a budget impasse over the program. (DeMillo, 4/18)

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette: If Amended, Bill Adds 3 Backers, Governor Says
The Republican governor also told the Legislative Black Caucus' members that if they vote for the amended bill and their position is misrepresented as being against funding the Medicaid expansion, "I am happy to make sure that I'm a voice for an accurate record on your intentions and your consistency in support of Medicaid expansion in Arkansas, and being an advocate for that for your constituents." Several Democratic lawmakers said Monday that they are warming to Hutchinson's line-item veto strategy for continuing funding of Arkansas' version of Medicaid expansion in the fiscal year starting July 1. (Wickline, 4/19)

KUAR Public Radio: Thoughts From The Arkansas Senate On The Medicaid Line Item Veto Workaround
Backers of Arkansas’s Medicaid expansion plan are expected to try again this week to overcome the resistance of a minority of Republican lawmakers and pass a budget bill. Proponents hope to continue the plan’s funding by paradoxically crafting an amendment to remove it from the overall Medicaid budget. Once passed, the governor promises to issue a line item veto which would effectively reinstate funding for the expansion plan component. Republican Bart Hester and Democrat Keith Ingram in the state Senate spoke with KUAR about the status of legislation. (Kaufman, 4/18)

And a new study was released Monday on the effects of expansion —

Kaiser Health News: Study: Medicaid Expansion Encourages More Poor Adults To Get Health Care
In states that expanded Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, low-income adults were more likely to see a doctor, stay overnight in a hospital and receive their first diagnoses of diabetes and high cholesterol, according to a study published Monday. Yet researchers found no improvement in adults’ own assessments of their health, a conclusion echoed by similar studies, the authors wrote in the Annals of Internal Medicine. (Galewitz, 4/18)

Reuters: States' Expansion Of Medicaid Tied To Better Care For Low-Income Adults
Researchers found increased rates of insurance coverage, healthcare use and chronic disease diagnoses among low-income adults in states that expanded access to the government-funded health insurance program. "It looks like there is better medical care for these adults," said lead author Laura Wherry, of the David Geffen School of Medicine at the University of California, Los Angeles. (Seaman, 4/18)

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