KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

In Many State Legislatures, The Medicaid Expansion Saga Continues

News outlets offer updates on the future of uncertain Medicaid expansion plans in Texas and Arizona as well as a progress report from California.

The Texas Tribune: An Update On Medicaid Expansion
We've highlighted Medicaid expansion in Texas a couple of times during the legislative session, from those hoping to pick up Medicaid coverage to lawmakers for and against Texas joining in the Affordable Care Act program. State Rep. John Zerwas, R-Simonton, worked this session to pass legislation that would let the state negotiate with the federal government on expansion. His final bill got out of committee but didn’t get to the House floor before last week’s deadlines (Philpott, 5/15).

The Texas Tribune: Budget Deal May Not Come Until Thursday
Budget negotiations stretched late into the night on Wednesday, but lawmakers said privately they didn’t expect to announce a deal until Thursday. House Appropriations Chairman Jim Pitts said earlier in the evening that lawmakers were working to resolve some "pending items" and that he hoped to secure a deal by midnight (Aaronson and Batheja, 5/15).

Arizona Republic: Senate Debates Brewer's Plan To Expand Health Care Program For Poor Today
Dueling rallies at the Capitol on Wednesday over expansion of Medicaid eligibility foreshadowed what’s expected to be a long, vitriolic fight today in the state Senate about the future of Arizona’s health care program for the poor. Gov. Jan Brewer’s Medicaid plan is expected to be offered as an amendment to a budget-related bill during debate on the fiscal 2014 spending plan, which is scheduled to begin this morning, officially putting the enormous health care policy package in play and moving the governor one step closer to realizing her top legislative priority (Reinhart, 5/16).

KQED/State Of Health: Brown Backs State-Run Medi-Cal Expansion
Gov. Jerry Brown’s revised budget plan is a mixed bag for health advocates and some county officials. Brown said the state would take the lead on a key provision of the federal health law — expanding Medi-Cal to more than one million Californians. Brown scrapped earlier plans to consider a more complicated, county-based system. But Brown anticipates recouping more than $300 million from the counties next fiscal year – money that pays for public health programs and care for the uninsured. Brown’s rationale? With the full implementation of federal health reform next year, more people will enroll in Medi-Cal and fewer people will show up to county emergency rooms (Kim, 5/15).

California Healthline: State Still Looks To Dun County Funds In Medi-Cal Expansion Proposal
The optional expansion of Medi-Cal will be administered using a state-based approach rather than the county-based plan being considered by California officials, the governor said yesterday when he proposed his May revise, the mid-year revision of the state budget. That comes as welcome news to county health officials who have cautioned for months that a county-based system would be more confusing and costly than a state-based approach (Gorn, 5/15).

California Healthline: What The Oregon Study Says (Or Doesn't) About Medicaid
The results of the so-called Oregon Health Study, which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine earlier this month, prompted a firestorm of commentary from health care and health policy experts. Many health care blogs have weighed in on the study, and a deep gulf has emerged between those who think the findings confirm the mission of the Affordable Care Act to expand Medicaid and those who think the results are proof that the program is ineffective (Wayt, 5/15).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.