KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Va.’s Proposed Medicaid Expansion Gets Lower Cost Estimate; Ark. ‘Private Option’ Expansion Plan Faces New Challenges

The new numbers are expected to get a skeptical reception from Virginia's House Appropriations Committee.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Estimated Cost Of Medicaid Expansion Lowered
Virginia health officials will face a skeptical House Appropriations Committee today over a new analysis that shows $1 billion in savings to the state over nine years from expanding its Medicaid program. Secretary of Health and Human Resources William A. Hazel Jr. and state Medicaid officials had a dress rehearsal for the presentation on Tuesday, when they appeared before a Senate Finance Committee, which welcomed the analysis. “This is actually very good news -- great news -- to discuss,” said Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr., R-Augusta, who is sponsoring a budget amendment to allow some form of expansion as early as July 1 (Martz, 1/29).

The Associated Press: Governor Warns Against Ending Health Care Program
Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe warned sheriffs from around the state Tuesday that new funding he has proposed for the prison system could be at risk if lawmakers halt the compromise Medicaid expansion approved last year. Facing an increasingly uphill fight to renew the “private option” expansion during next month’s legislative session, Beebe also defended his administration’s estimate of how much the state budget would have to be cut if the program ends (1/28).

In other Medicaid-related news --

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Answers Sought On Families’ Medicaid Problems 
A congresswoman from New Hampshire asked the U.S. government Tuesday to clarify how families can obtain coverage under the federal health insurance law when children are eligible for Medicaid but their parents are not. Parents in New Hampshire, California and Florida have been surprised to learn that children who qualify for Medicaid can’t be covered under subsidized family plans purchased through the federal online markets, The Associated Press reported this week. Some children are going without coverage temporarily while their eligibility is determined. Others are stuck with no options because they applied for Medicaid and were rejected, but can’t be added to their parents’ plans (1/28).

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