KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

State Decisions On Medicaid Expansion Deepen Health Care Divide

The Fiscal Times examines how political dynamics are leading to a red state-blue state divide in the availability of health care coverage. Politico reports on how Ariz. Gov. Jan Brewer, a former foe of Obamacare, is confounding that pattern by battling lawmakers in her own party to expand Medicaid. Media outlets also report on developments in Mississippi and Ohio.

The Fiscal Times: Obamacare Creates A Two-Tiered Medicaid System
Nearly a year after the Supreme Court limited the expansion of Medicaid under President Obama's health care reform law, the federal-state health program for the poor and disabled is evolving into a disturbingly stark dual system in which the availability of health care is being determined largely by the same political divide that settled the 2012 presidential election (Pianin, 6/6).

Politico: Arizona's Jan Brewer Becomes Unlikely Ally Of Obamacare
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has become an unlikely warrior for Obamacare. Brewer is a conservative Republican who sued to topple the health law, refused to set up a health insurance exchange and memorably wagged her finger at President Barack Obama on a Phoenix airport tarmac. But now she's so determined to put the Obamacare Medicaid expansion in place in her state that she's vetoing any legislation that reaches her desk until the Republican Legislature caves (Cheney, 6/5).

The Associated Press: Mississippi Democrats Back Letting Poor Buy Private Insurance
Democrats in the Mississippi Legislature said Wednesday they've come up with a way to provide health coverage to about 300,000 people without expanding Medicaid. The state could use federal money to help low-income people buy private health insurance, the Democratic lawmakers said. Arkansas lawmakers approved a similar plan earlier this year and are awaiting federal approval for it (6/5).

Jackson, Miss., Clarion-Ledger: Bryant Opposes Dems' Medicaid Expansion Alternative
State House Democrats on Wednesday proposed an "alternative" to Medicaid expansion that would use federal money to buy insurance for 300,000 of the state’s working poor, similar to a proposal in Arkansas. But Gov. Phil Bryant and other Republicans said the Democrats’ plan is just a repackaged Medicaid expansion as called for with the Affordable Care Act, which they oppose (Gates and Pender, 6/5).

Toledo Blade: Ohio Senate Drops Medicaid Expansion
The Ohio Senate's take on a $62 billion, two-year budget is headed for a vote today, complete with $1.4 billion in tax relief for small business owners and more money for K-12 schools than either the House or Gov. John Kasich had proposed. The plan, however, lacks Mr. Kasich's controversial proposal to expand Medicaid eligibility under the federal health-care law. The expansion is not expected to make a comeback when a House-Senate conference committee meets to hammer out a compromise between the two chambers' versions. At most, Medicaid talks will continue along a parallel track (Provance, 6/6).

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