KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Debate About Health Law’s Medicaid Expansion Is Hot Topic In State Capitols

Lawmakers, officials and health advocates continue to press their policy positions on the pros and cons of expanding the Medicaid program.

MedPage Today: Lawmakers Push For Medicaid Expansion
Senators on Thursday urged governors to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and pushed advocates to lobby states for the same. While many states have already said they will expand to cover individuals essentially up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, others are still mulling the issue over. "Medicaid expansion is about protecting the most vulnerable Americans at the most vulnerable time of their lives," Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) said Thursday morning at a conference here sponsored by Families USA, a liberal health policy group (Pittman, 1/31).

The Associated Press: Possible Debate Later On Miss. Medicaid Expansion
Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature say they're trying to preserve the option of expanding Medicaid in the state, even though Gov. Phil Bryant and other Republican leaders oppose adding hundreds of thousands more people to the government health insurance for the poor. The Democrats' votes helped kill a bill Thursday that would keep the existing Medicaid program in business beyond July 1. Lawmakers say there are other bills to keep the program alive (Pettus, 1/31).

Related, earlier KHN story: Cracks Appearing In GOP Opposition To Health Law (Galewitz, 1/22).

The Washington Post: Republican Bolling Makes Case For Expanding Medicaid In Va.
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling on Thursday came out in favor of expanding Virginia's Medicaid program, carving out another position that sets him apart from Gov. Robert F. McDonnell and a Republican rival for governor (Vozzella, 1/31).

The Texas Tribune: Health Advocates Make Case For Medicaid Expansion
Health care advocates flocked to the Capitol on Thursday to urge the Senate Finance Committee to consider the benefits of expanding Medicaid to impoverished adults, restoring funding for family planning services cut last session and encouraging a redesign of the state's health delivery system to help additional disabled and low-income Texans (Aaronson, 1/31).

North Carolina Health News: Legislators Reject State Implementation Of Obamacare
On their first day back in session, North Carolina Senate Republicans introduced a bill yesterday to opt out of several provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, scheduled to go into effect next year. Senate Bill 4, introduced by senators Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson), Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), would exempt the state from establishing a state-run health insurance exchange or a federal-state partnership exchange. The bill would also rule out expansion of the state’s Medicaid program (Sisk, 1/31).

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