KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid Expansion An Unsettled Issue For Some States

In Virginia, one member of the panel charged with exploring the idea of expanding the health insurance program for people with low incomes said any broadening of the program was unlikely to happen in the near future. In Mississippi, many low-income people will soon realize they won't be eligible for Medicaid  because the state opted against the expansion.    

The Washington Post: Virginia Medicaid Panel Member Calls 'Obamacare' Expansion Unlikely In Near Term
The vice chairman of a panel exploring Medicaid reform and expansion in Virginia told fellow House Republicans this week that the program is unlikely to be broadened anytime soon. It could take months, if not years, to determine if the federal-state health-care program has been sufficiently reformed to merit expansion, Del. Steve Landes (R-Augusta) said in a confidential memo to his caucus. A copy of the memo was obtained by The Washington Post (Vozzella, 10/3).

Reuters: Mississippi Blues: The Cost Of Rejecting Medicaid Expansion
As Americans across the nation begin to find out what Obamacare has in store for them, many of Mississippi's most needy will find out the answer is nothing. That is likely the case for William and Leslie Johnson of Jackson County, since the state decided not to expand the Medicaid program for the poor under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act. As a result, nearly 300,000 adults there will fall through the cracks of healthcare reform (Steenhuysen, 10/4).

Meanwhile, reports from California and Oregon about how the decision to pursue the expansion will impact people and the program -

Bloomberg: California Cuts Medicaid Payments Amid Wave Of New Users
When Ruth Haskins, a gynecologist in Folsom, California, does a pelvic exam and pap smear on a woman with insurance, she gets $95 to $200. If the patient is elderly, federal Medicare pays $36. For the low-income on Medicaid, the state gives $25, and it's about to go down. The reduction comes as Medi-Cal, California's Medicaid program for 8.5 million people too poor to afford health care, is on the verge of adding 1 million participants under President Barack Obama's health-system overhaul, according to the state Health Care Services Department (Melnicoe, 10/4).

The Oregonian: Oregon's Low-Income Health Plan Primed For Growth Under Reform Law
Bruce Lovan makes no bones about it, he's a member of the working poor. He sleeps on a mattress on the living room floor of his father's La Grande duplex and lives on food stamps while pulling a couple of graveyard shifts a week as a $9-an-hour security guard. He's also one of more than 200,000 low-income Oregonians who will newly qualify for the Oregon Health Plan starting in January, as its waiting list and lottery to enroll become a thing of the past (Budnick, 10/3).

And in Oklahoma, the health law is not welcome -

Los Angeles Times: Obamacare Meets Extra Resistance In Oklahoma
The nation's healthcare law was written with the residents of rural counties like Choctaw in mind. A quarter of the Oklahomans who live in the ranch country near the southeastern corner of the state are uninsured, one of many reasons their health ranks near the bottom of Oklahoma's 77 counties. But that does not mean people here want Obamacare (Reston, 10/3).

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