KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Many Conservatives Watching Indiana’s Medicaid Expansion As Possible Model For Other States

When Indiana opted to expand its Medicaid program, it instituted a requirement for enrollees to pay small premiums for their care. That idea is attractive to other Republican-led states, including Ohio. Also, the issue of expansion continues to roil North Carolina lawmakers, and women's groups in Illinois are seeking state help to get free coverage for breast feeding services that they say were guaranteed under the health law.

Los Angeles Times: Indiana's Medicaid Experiment Offers A Conservative Take On Health Reform
Indiana, which has a conservative Republican governor and Legislature, is pioneering an experiment that requires low-income patients to contribute monthly to a special health account. ... Charging poor people small premiums or fees for care — long favored by conservatives who contend that "skin in the game" engages patients in their health — has historically produced mixed results. But at a time when Obamacare remains deeply unpopular among Republicans, the idea is attracting new interest as GOP governors seek ways to put a conservative stamp on expanding coverage. Indiana's experiment may provide a glimpse at where the health law is headed in some parts of the country. (Levey, 7/4)

The Associated Press: Ohio Medicaid Plan Would Require Enrollees To Share In Cost
About 1 million low-income Ohio residents could be required to pay a new monthly cost for Medicaid health coverage or potentially lose it under a Republican provision in the state budget, officials estimate. The idea, which will require federal approval, was part of the $71.2 billion, two-year spending blueprint that Republican Gov. John Kasich signed Tuesday. (Sanner, 6/2)

The Associated Press: NC Legislators Want Medicaid Reform Before Expansion
Despite a key win in the Supreme Court and pressure from liberal activists, North Carolina's legislative leaders said this past week that they have no plans to expand the state's Medicaid rolls through President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law. Demonstrators who have routinely come to the Legislative Building to protest Republican policies arrived again this past week on the coattails of a Supreme Court decision to uphold subsidies for individuals who purchased insurance on federal exchanges. They demanded Republican Gov. Pat McCrory and General Assembly leaders either accept federal funding to expand Medicaid enrollment through the Affordable Care Act, or come up with their own plan to close the insurance gap. (Moritz, 7/4)

The Seattle Times: Obamacare In Washington State: Are The Goals Being Met?
It has been five years since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) became law, and new data and numerous real-life stories are beginning to reveal how close or how far the ACA has come toward meeting its objective in Washington state. One challenge has been expanding the reach of insurance to more people. Today, more than 91 percent of the state’s population has coverage — the highest rate in decades, according to state officials. But coverage alone isn’t a measure of success. Equally important is whether people can afford their insurance and medical bills and whether they can get access to care that makes them healthier. (Stiffler, 7/4)

The Chicago Tribune: Nursing Moms Fight For Insurance Coverage Of Breast-Feeding Benefits
When nursing becomes painful or difficult in the days after giving birth, women can turn to certified lactation consultants for advice and relief. But some Illinois women say that when they tried to get their insurers to pay for the service, their claims were repeatedly denied. The Affordable Care Act identifies breast-feeding benefits as a preventive service like contraception and lung cancer screening, which the law requires insurers to cover at no cost to policyholders. Recently a nonprofit that advocates for breast-feeding mothers sent a letter to the Illinois Department of Insurance requesting that insurers be forced to pay for the services of certified lactation consultants. (Venteicher, 7/3)

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