KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Rural Poor Likely To Feel The Pinch Of State Decisions Not To Expand Medicaid

Economist says half of the rural poor who would be aided by expansion live in states that have opted not to take that step.

The Associated Press: Economist: Medicaid Expansion A Rural Issue
Rural residents will likely benefit from the health care overhaul, but many will be hurt by their states' refusal to expand Medicaid coverage, a health economist said during a recent conference on rural health care. ... He told hospital administrators and others gathered in Milwaukee that when researchers look at rural residents who could be covered by expanded Medicaid, more than half live in states that have opted out. In comparison, more than half of the urban residents eligible for coverage under the expansion live in states that are going forward with it (Johnson, 8/2).

News outlets also looked at the issue of expansion as it plays out in several states.

Dallas Morning News: Study Says Texas Premiums Will Rise With Medicaid Expansion Opposition
Texas’ refusal to expand Medicaid will cause private health insurance premiums to rise by an average of 9.3 percent for people who buy their own coverage, a new study finds. GOP lawmakers, strongly encouraged by Gov. Rick Perry, decided not to add poor adults to Medicaid’s rolls. That means about 1.3 million fewer Texans will have health coverage by 2016 than if the federal Affordable Care Act were fully implemented in the state, according to the study by the nonprofit research organization Rand Corp. (Garrett, 9/2). 

The Columbus Dispatch: Group Gathering Signatures For Medicaid Expansion Ballot Initiative
Frustrated with GOP leaders refusal to act on [Ohio] Gov. John Kasich’s proposed Medicaid expansion, advocates for the uninsured have begun collecting signatures which could send the issue to the ballot for voters to decide. The effort is being led by a broad-based coalition made up of businesses, unions, health-care providers religious organizations, consumer groups and advocates for the uninsured (Candisky, 8/31).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Debate Turns To When Expansion Occurs
The Michigan Senate’s intense, months-long debate over Medicaid expansion and the federal health care law is not over, even after the Republican-controlled chamber’s milestone vote to provide health insurance to hundreds of thousands of low-income residents.  Senators on Tuesday will reconsider the issue of when the legislation should take effect (Eggert, 9/1).

Detroit Free Press: Michigan's Medicaid Expansion A Relief For Hospitals Giving Unpaid Care
Hospitals administrators across the state are hopeful that since the Medicaid expansion bill cleared its biggest hurdle last week, they can recoup some of the hundreds of millions of dollars they lose each year providing uncompensated health care to poor and uninsured patients. ... several of the systems that serve large numbers of low-income patients, including Henry Ford Health System and St. John Providence Health System, estimated they will save roughly 10 to 15 percent on the amounts they lose each year to uncompensated care — free charity care, unpaid patient bills and services provided to uninsured people at reduced prices (Reindl, 9/2).

Meanwhile, one outlet looks at changes coming in Michigan with the new online health marketplaces -

Detroit Free Press: Companies And Organizers Prep For Michigan Exchange Rollout Oct. 1
Nearly every Michigander will have access to basic health insurance — and be required to get it — beginning Oct. 1 as federal health reform's largest provisions start snapping into place with the launch of each state’s Health Insurance Marketplace. For those with no insurance or bare-bones coverage, that could mean more generous benefits than they've ever had, once coverage becomes effective Jan. 1 (Erb, 9/1).

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