KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid Expansion: Stiff Resistance In South, Fla. Gov. Scott Blasts Watered-Down Plan

While most Southern states resist expanding Medicaid under the health law, Virginia appoints its final voting members to a commission that will oversee expansion there. In Florida, Gov. Rick Scott is blasting a watered-down version of the expansion that lawmakers there favor.

McClatchy: Despite Health Challenges, Southern States Resist Medicaid Expansion
Michael White’s high blood pressure is acting up again. The 51-year-old casino janitor has recurring seizures and recently awoke in an ambulance after passing out at a bus stop. … If White had insurance, he’d be under the care of a primary physician and taking medications regularly. But he can’t afford job-based health insurance on his $8-an-hour wage and he earns too much to qualify for Medicaid, the state-federal health plan for poor people and those with disabilities. … But Mississippi and eight other contiguous Southern states, all led by Republican governors, have decided not to implement the Medicaid expansion, even though the federal government has pledged to pay all medical costs for the newly eligible enrollees in 2014, 2015 and 2016 and no less than 90 percent of their costs thereafter (Pugh, 4/11).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Senators Appointed To Commission That Will Monitor Va. Medicaid Reforms
The last four voting members have been appointed to a state commission that will oversee Medicaid reform and expansion in Virginia. Senate Finance Committee chairman Walter Stosch on Thursday named Senators Emmett Hanger, John Watkins, Janet Howell and Louise Lucas to the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. The 2013 General Assembly established the commission to monitor implementation of Medicaid reforms sought by Virginia as a condition for expanding the program to an additional 400,000 uninsured low-income Virginians (4/11).

Health News Florida: House Plan Leaves Out Most Adults Who Need Coverage
As promised, the Florida House released its answer to the federal Medicaid Expansion under the Affordable Care Act on Thursday morning. It would leave out most of those the federal health law intended to cover. … It would provide limited coverage to parents of minor children and to disabled adults under 100 percent of the federal poverty level (Gentry, 4/11).

The Associated Press: Scott Slams House Health Plan
Gov. Rick Scott slammed a Florida House proposal Thursday that would pass up billions of federal dollars to provide health care coverage to 115,000 uninsured Floridians in a watered down alternative to expanding Medicaid under the federal health law. The proposal relies entirely on $237 million in state taxpayer funds and would not tap into an estimated $51 billion dollars in federal aid available under the Affordable Care Act (4/11).

And the divide also deepens in Iowa and Michigan, where lawmakers too are butting heads with the governor over expansion plans --

The Associated Press: Iowa State Treasurer Attacks Branstad Health Plan
State Treasurer Michael Fitzgerald waded Thursday into the partisan debate over whether to expand Medicaid in Iowa, attacking Gov. Terry Branstad’s alternative proposal as a “bad financial deal.”  The Democratic treasurer said that Branstad’s Healthy Iowa proposal would cost the state $163 million in the 2014-15 fiscal year, compared with a $4.7 million price tag for expanding Medicaid under the federal health care law (Lucey, 4/12).

The Associated Press: Michigan Panels Reject Governor's Medicaid Expansion
Republican-led legislative panels on Thursday rejected expanding Medicaid eligibility to 320,000 Michigan residents next year but left open the possibility of reversing course in coming months if changes can be made to the health insurance program for the needy.  Gov. Rick Snyder wants to expand Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul, saying it makes financial sense and is a chance to improve the health of people without insurance (Eggert, 4/11).

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