KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid Expansion: Second Thoughts And Changes Of Heart?

PBS NewsHour reports on some states with GOP governors who opposed the health law but want to pursue the Medicaid expansion. In one such state, Arizona, the Republican governor signed expansion legislation after a bruising fight with conservatives in the legislature. But, in Maine, the governor vetoed such a measure for the second time while news outlets offer updates from Virginia, Michigan and Ohio.

PBS NewsHour: Some States Have Second Thoughts About Refusing Medicaid Expansion (Video)
Republican governors from Florida, Michigan, Ohio and Arizona were originally opposed to the health care law, but are now pushing to expand Medicaid. Hari Sreenivasan talks with Ohio Public Radio bureau chief Karen Kasler and Mary K. Reinhart, reporter for The Arizona Republic, about what's behind the changes in their states (6/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Arizona Gov. Brewer Signs Medicaid Expansion Law After Bruising Fight With GOP Conservatives
Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer has signed a law expanding the state's Medicaid program following her victory over conservatives in her own party opposed to embracing a key part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul (6/17).

Reuters: Arizona Governor Jan Brewer Signs Medicaid Expansion
Arizona's Republican Governor Jan Brewer signed a law on Monday to expand Medicaid, embracing a key part of Democratic President Barack Obama's health care plan in a hard-won policy victory over conservatives in her own party. Brewer, a feisty opponent of the Obama administration over immigration enforcement, signed a bill that will make about 300,000 additional poor and disabled residents eligible for the Medicaid program, a move opposed by some conservative Republican lawmakers (Schwartz, 6/17).

Arizona Republic: Brewer Signs Into Law Arizona's Medicaid Program
Gov. Jan Brewer on Monday signed the largest expansion of Arizona's Medicaid program since its inception a generation ago, ending a fierce five-month legislative battle that drove a wedge through the Republican Party. The governor's signature, however, started the clock on a petition drive aimed at overturning the controversial law, with expansion opponents set to formally kick off their effort at a Capitol rally Saturday. Brewer, addressing dozens of lawmakers, hospital officials and other supporters in a packed Capitol conference room, called it a historic day (Reinhart, 6/18).

The Associated Press: Maine Gov Vetoes Medicaid Expansion For 2nd Time
Maine Gov. Paul LePage on Monday vetoed a bill to accept federal dollars to expand health care coverage to 70,000 more Mainers, saying he fears the state will ultimately bear the financial burden for the new enrollees. The Democratic-controlled Legislature last week approved a retooled proposal to expand Medicaid coverage under the federal health care overhaul, cutting off the state's participation in the program off after three years in an effort to make it more appealing to Republicans (Durkin, 6/17).

Bangor Daily News: LePage Vetoes Medicaid Expansion, Says 'Maine Can Do Better'
Gov. Paul LePage on Monday vetoed legislation to expand Maine's Medicaid program, turning the focus back to majority Democrats to try and rally enough Republican votes to override it. In his veto message, LePage wrote Maine has expanded Medicaid before -- what he termed a "massive increase in welfare expansion" -- and it hasn't worked (Stone, 6/17).

Kennebec Journal: LePage Vetoes Bipartisan Medicaid Expansion Plan
Gov. Paul LePage vetoed a Medicaid-expansion bill late Monday, taking an expected step that's sure to increase tension with Maine's legislative session due to end this week.In a prepared statement, House Speaker Mark Eves, D-North Berwick, called the veto "senseless," saying LePage "made it clear that he will do whatever it takes to deny and delay health care to tens of thousands of Mainers" (Shepherd, 6/17).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Va. Panel Established To Certify Medicaid Reforms And Approve Expansion Meets For First Time
How do you expand Medicaid under the federal health overhaul law without provoking the wrath of conservatives dead set against it under any circumstances? A Virginia panel attempting that high-wire act took its first good look at the daunting challenge of modernizing the federal-state program, making it more like a commercial service, simplifying it and cutting billions of dollars in the process Monday and learned from a noisy contingent of protesters that there's no way to please both sides (6/17).

The Detroit News: Medicaid Battle To Be Fierce In Senate
A controversial bill to expand Medicaid health care coverage to nearly a half-million more Michiganians moves to the Senate this week, where its chances for passage as of Monday remained a tossup. The bill would expand Medicaid to include adults who are currently excluded from the federal program for the poor. Medicaid generally only accepts adults who are pregnant, disabled or caring for children or a disabled person. The expanded program would include all adults with incomes up to 133 percent of the poverty line, or about $15,281 annually (Bouffard, 6/18).

Columbus Dispatch: State Covers Health Insurance For Many Foes Of Expanding Medicaid
While few would argue that legislators -- like all state employees -- shouldn't have health coverage, other lawmakers and advocates for the poor see at best a double standard and at worst hypocrisy in the opposition to expanding Medicaid by legislators who accept taxpayer-funded medical coverage for themselves and their families (Hallett, 6/18).

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