KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Health Law’s Medicaid Expansion Running Smoothly

While many Americans have struggled to sign up for insurance on the troubled website, enrollment is moving faster for Medicaid in states that opted into the expanded program. The New York Times looks at the particular challenges of enrolling homeless adults, while media outlets examine related issues in Illinois, New Jersey, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania.

The New York Times: Medicaid Expansion Faces Major Logistical Challenges Among the Homeless
Today, most state Medicaid programs cover only disabled adults or those with dependents, so [Terry] Cannon and millions of other deeply impoverished Americans are left without access to the program. But starting Jan. 1, President Obama's health care law will expand Medicaid coverage to adults with incomes under 138 percent of the federal poverty line, and enrollment is expected to increase by about nine million next year. Thousands of homeless people will be among the newly covered (Lowry, 11/24).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Wisconsin To Delay Changes To Income Rules Along With Medicaid Switch
Gov. Scott Walker's administration is delaying putting in place a new system to help determine who receives state BadgerCare Plus health care for the needy. The move, state officials said, is tied to the Republican governor's response to the troubled rollout of the federal health law. Because of the Obamacare problems, Walker said earlier this month that he would delay for three months his plan to move more than 70,000 state residents out of BadgerCare and into an online federal insurance market (Stein, 11/23).

Medpage Today: ACA’s Medicaid Enrollment Fairly Smooth
In a time where not much seems to be going as planned in the Affordable Care Act's rollout, it's no surprise that Medicaid enrollment is going as expected and sign-ups outnumber those for private coverage by nearly 4-to-1, experts said Friday. For one thing, states that have expanded their Medicaid programs are also the same ones doing aggressive outreach, as they generally support the act and its coverage expansions, said Matt Salo, executive director of the National Association of Medicaid Directors. Furthermore, states have had an easier time enrolling those eligible for Medicaid than they have enrolling people in private health coverage, even when the latter is subsidized, Salo said [in Washington] at an Alliance for Health Reform briefing on initial results for enrollment in the ACA's exchanges, or marketplaces (Pittman, 11/24).

Chicago Sun-Times: State's Medicaid Applications Adding Up
In Illinois, just 1,370 individuals selected an insurance plan in October through, which was created by President Barack Obama’s health care law. But the other part of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, that kicked in Oct. 1 — expanding Medicaid — shows better turnout. More than 47,000 low-income people in Illinois have applied for Medicaid since October on the state-run website, Illinois also got 42,000 additional Medicaid applicants by sending a letter to the 123,000 people receiving food stamps in August. Another more than 100,000 people in Cook County, where an early Medicaid pilot program began a year ago, have already enrolled (Thomas, 11/22).

Newark Star-Ledger: Medicaid Applications Up 35 Percent Since Obamacare Exchange Opened
The opening of the Obamacare health exchange last month drove a 35 percent surge in new applications for Medicaid, the health insurance program for low-income people, the state Department of Human Services confirmed today. The number of applicants to the State’s Medicaid program -- known as New Jersey FamilyCare -- during October totaled 21,946, an increase of 35 percent from September when 16,339 applicants were reported, according to NJ Citizen Action Health Policy Advocate Maura Collinsgru (Livio, 11/22). 

The Associated Press: Medicaid And Minimum Wage Making Way Into Pa. Race
Democrats who are vying for the party's nomination to run for governor are positioning themselves to run on issues including expanding Medicaid, extending kindergarten to full day and increasing the minimum wage (11/24).

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