KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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New Louisiana Governor Signs Order For Medicaid Expansion

The action by Democrat John Bel Edwards fulfills a campaign promise. Also in two state-of-the-state speeches, governors in South Dakota and Kansas take different views of the health law's provision to expand health coverage for low-income residents.

The New York Times: Louisiana’s New Governor Signs An Order To Expand Medicaid
On Tuesday, his second day in office, Gov. John Bel Edwards signed an executive order expanding Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act, fulfilling a campaign promise that will expand health coverage to hundreds of thousands of people in one of the nation’s poorest states. The action by Mr. Edwards, a Democrat, under President Obama’s health care law was expected to be one of the most significant and immediate results of his election in November, when he defeated Senator David Vitter, a Republican whose campaign was tainted by a prostitution scandal. (Fausset and Goodnough, 1/12)

The Associated Press: New Louisiana Governor Starting Medicaid Expansion Plan
Surrounded by Medicaid expansion supporters at a news conference, Edwards signed an executive order calling for the state Department of Health and Hospitals to make the administrative changes needed to begin offering the health insurance coverage to the working poor. It was his first executive order as governor. "This is the right thing to do. This is not even a close call," Edwards said. Edwards' order came two days ahead of President Barack Obama's public appearance in Baton Rouge, where he'll champion his federal health care overhaul that allows for the Medicaid expansion. (Deslatte, 1/12)

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: State Of The State: Teacher Pay, Medicaid, More
Gov. Dennis Daugaard in his State of the State address Tuesday called on legislators to raise taxes for teacher pay and expand Medicaid to tens of thousands of low-income South Dakotans. ... Daugaard lobbied legislators again to expand Medicaid in the state if the feds agree to expand and improve care options for the state's American Indians through Indian Health Service (IHS) providers. He said the state will likely hear from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services this month to confirm whether his plan is viable. (Ferguson, 1/12)

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: Daugaard Takes Different Approach On Medicaid
And while he backed the state's congressional delegates in opposing the federal health care law, Daugaard said South Dakota lawmakers should support it based on the positive impact it could have on tens of thousands of needy people in the state. "It is our responsibility to understand the federal programs as they exist and to make the best decisions for our state," Daugaard said. "This deal makes sense for South Dakota. It is a good deal." And again the governor told the Legislature that he wouldn't move forward on the deal without their support as well as that of the Tribes unless the plan proved budget neutral. (Ferguson, 1/12)

The Kansas Health Institute News Service: Brownback Reasserts Opposition To Medicaid Expansion In State Of State Speech
Kansas Republican Gov. Sam Brownback didn’t specifically mention Medicaid expansion in his State of the State speech Tuesday night to a joint session of the Legislature. Still, he made it clear that he remains opposed to expanding eligibility to cover more than 150,000 low-income adults, many of whom are uninsured. Seeming to acknowledge that the closure of Mercy Hospital in the southeast Kansas community of Independence had increased interest in expansion, Brownback said “Obamacare” was the main reason for the hospital's financial struggles and those of other rural providers. (McLean, 1/12)

Kansas City Star: Brownback Heralds Conservative Policies, Lashes Out At Obama In State Of The State Address
On health care, Brownback said he was asking Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer, a doctor, to put together a working group to address the problems of rural health care. In praising the state’s Medicaid program called KanCare — he has opposed Medicaid expansion in the state — Brownback blamed federal health care law for increased health care costs, especially in rural areas. Others have linked the struggle of rural hospitals in Kansas with the lack of Medicaid expansion. “KanCare is working,” he said. “Obamacare is failing.” (Eveld, 1/12)

Brownback also announced new efforts to cut state funding to Planned Parenthood -

Wichita (Kan.) Eagle: State Of State Address: Governor Focuses On Schools, Refugees, Abortion
Brownback, a staunch opponent of abortion, noted that “every year since I became governor, we have enacted pro-life legislation.” Saying “the time has come to finish the job,” he said he was directing Kansas Department of Health and Environment Secretary Susan Mosier to “ensure that not a single dollar of taxpayer money goes to Planned Parenthood.” ... Lobbyist Elise Higgins said the Medicaid funding Planned Parenthood receives in Kansas goes to “cover things like birth control, STD testing and treatment, cervical cancer screenings and breast exams.” She added that attempts to prevent the women’s health provider from receiving Medicaid funds in other states have been struck down in court. (Lefler and Lowry, 1/12)

The Associated Press: Kansas Cutting Off Medicaid Funds For Planned Parenthood
Kansas will prevent Planned Parenthood from receiving any funds through its Medicaid program, Gov. Sam Brownback announced Tuesday in a State of the State address that encouraged state legislators to enshrine such a policy into law. Brownback used his speech to outline a broad legislative agenda on multiple issues and announced his action against Planned Parenthood near the end. (Hanna, 1/12)

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