KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Michigan’s Rick Snyder Becomes Sixth GOP Governor To Back Health Law’s Medicaid Expansion

News outlets examine the political dynamics spurring some former opponents of the law to sign onto one of its most significant provisions.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Republican Gov. Rick Snyder Backs Expanding Medicaid To Michigan's Uninsured In US Health Plan
Republican Gov. Rick Snyder on Wednesday backed the extension of Medicaid coverage to 470,000 residents under the Obama administration’s health care overhaul, saying it is the right thing to do despite resistance from his own party that controls the Legislature. He is the sixth GOP governor to propose expanding the taxpayer-funded health insurance program, joining the leaders of Ohio, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and North Dakota. Snyder has criticized the federal health care law in the past but to a lesser extent than other Republican governors (2/6).

Reuters: Michigan Republican Governor Snyder Backs Medicaid Expansion
Michigan Governor Rick Snyder on Wednesday endorsed an expansion of health coverage for the poor under President Barack Obama's reform law, joining five other Republican governors who have agreed to widen the Medicaid program in their states. Snyder made his announcement at a hospital in the state capitol of Lansing (Wisniewski, 2/6).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Senate To Consider Quicker Decision On Medicaid
The Virginia Senate is having second thoughts about waiting another year to decide whether to expand the state’s Medicaid program to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians under the national Affordable Care Act. The Senate Finance Committee is expected to introduce an amendment to the state budget today that would allow expansion of Medicaid this year if the state succeeds in getting federal approval of changes to the program. Committee Chairman Walter A. Stosch, R-Henrico, said Wednesday that the committee is preparing language for the budget that would change a previous provision requiring General Assembly approval next year for the program to expand (Martz, 2/7).

Kansas City Star: Some GOP Politicians Drop Their Resistance To Medicaid Expansion
Cracks continue to develop in the Republican Party’s concrete opposition to Obamacare's state expansions of Medicaid, the health insurance program for the poor. Whether those fissures will crumble Medicaid opposition in Kansas and Missouri, though, remains very much in doubt. On Wednesday, Gov. Rick Snyder of Michigan became the sixth GOP governor out of 30 to recommend expanding Medicaid eligibility in their state. … And on Monday, Ohio Gov. John Kasich, another Republican, recommended Medicaid expansion in his state. An estimated 684,000 people would have new access to health coverage in Ohio, fully paid for by the federal government over the next three years, if Ohio lawmakers agree (Helling, 2/6).

California Healthline: Insuring A Better Future For The State?
State officials and health care experts yesterday said the governor's decision to sign on to optional expansion of Medi-Cal could be a huge step forward for California's health system -- and a huge challenge, as well, they said. More than 700 stakeholders gathered in downtown Sacramento for the annual conference of the Insure the Uninsured Project heard dozens of experts evaluate how far California has come in implementing health care reform, and how far it still has to go. Adding roughly 1.4 million Californians to Medi-Cal eligibility in the optional expansion (adding adults up to 138 percent of federal poverty level) may be fully funded by the federal government for the first three years, but it also brings a boatload of work to the state (Gorn, 2/6).

Bloomberg: Republican Governors Finding Sense In Medicaid Expansion
Six Republican governors have agreed to expand Medicaid, the second-largest piece of President Barack Obama’s U.S. health-care overhaul, accepting federal money to ensure their state’s residents have access to medical coverage. Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, an Affordable Care Act opponent, said yesterday it makes sense for the "physical and fiscal health" of his state to participate in the law's expansion of Medicaid, the state-federal health plan for the poor. He became the sixth Republican governor to jump on board, following John Kasich of Ohio's announcement three days ago (Wayne, 2/7).

Fox News: Poison Pill? GOP Governors Divided Over Whether To Accept ObamaCare Medicaid Expansion
Little has changed in the year since Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer famously pointed an accusatory finger at President Obama on an airport tarmac. Brewer still fancies herself as a states' rights advocate fighting against the perceived excesses of the federal government. And Obama, fresh off a reaffirming election victory, remains in the White House and overseeing massive reforms in health care coverage he says are necessary for the country's future. That's why Brewer's recent decision to accept a huge pot of money available to states under ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion was a notable act of cooperation between the Republican governor and the Democratic administration she's berated, scolded and sued (Ross, 2/6).

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