KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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New N.C. Governor Seeks To Expand Medicaid Without Legislative Approval

The state legislature passed a law in 2013 prohibiting this sort of executive action, but Gov. Roy Cooper says it "infringes" on a governor's right to negotiate Medicaid issues with the federal government. Also in Medicaid news from other states, a study identifies expansion benefits in Michigan, New York's governor releases data about the effects there and Arkansas's governor asks the incoming Trump administration to soften the expansion rules.

Raleigh News & Observer: Gov. Roy Cooper Wants To Expand Medicaid; Republicans Vow To Fight
Gov. Roy Cooper plans to take immediate executive action aimed at expanding Medicaid, defying a state law and setting up a confrontation with the Republican-dominated state legislature. Addressing a group of business leaders at an economic forum Wednesday morning, the governor – who was sworn into office on New Year’s Day – said he would file an amendment to the state Medicaid plan by Friday. The new plan would allow hundreds of thousands more people to sign up for government health insurance. (Ranii and Bonner, 1/4)

WRAL (Raleigh, N.C.): Cooper Seeks Business Help To Repeal HB2, Expand Medicaid
Gov. Roy Cooper urged North Carolina business leaders Wednesday to support his efforts to repeal a state law limiting LGBT rights, expand Medicaid and boost school funding. Speaking at the annual economic forecast event sponsored by the North Carolina Chamber and the North Carolina Bankers Association, Cooper told attendees that he would be "an aggressive recruiter" as governor to bring jobs to the state and would work on programs to help small business. But he asked them to get behind him in three proposals that he said would help North Carolina's economy. (Burns, Leslie and Binker, 1/4)

Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal: Cooper To Pursue Medicaid Expansion By Nearly 500,000 People Despite Stiff GOP Opposition
Medicaid expansion was a hot-button issue throughout Pat McCrory’s term as governor. Currently, Medicaid covers about 1.9 million North Carolinians, and is a $14 billion a year program. ... Cooper said he believes the law prohibiting the expansion of Medicaid in the state, approved in 2013, infringes on “core executive functions” of the governor’s role for negotiating the waiver request with the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services. McCrory said he was pursuing federal waiver exceptions for what he called “a North Carolina plan, and not a Washington plan” that could have featured expansion. (Craver, 1/4)

The Associated Press: NC Governor Pledges To Expand Medicaid, Despite State Law
As many as 650,000 working people who can't get private insurance or otherwise make too much to get Medicaid could benefit, generating jobs, helping rural hospitals and boosting the economy, Cooper said. Under the proposal, the state would have to match 5 percent of the cost, which the governor said could come from an assessment on hospitals that stand to benefit. (Robertson, 1/4)

Detroit News: Study: Medicaid Expansion Gives $2.3B Boost To Michigan
Michigan’s expanded Medicaid program has boosted state tax revenues and personal income in the state, and can be expected to pay for itself for the next five years and beyond, according to University of Michigan study released late Wednesday. The Healthy Michigan Plan, which provides Medicaid coverage to more than 600,000 Michiganians, added nearly $554 million to the state budget in 2016, due to increased tax revenues and decreased state health care spending, according to the analysis published late Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine. (Bouffard, 1/4)

Detroit Free Press: U-M Study Shows Benefits Of Michigan Expanding Medicaid
Even though the state’s bills for the expansion of Medicaid to more than 640,000 low-income Michiganders is growing from $152 million this year to $399 million in 2021, the economic benefit of providing the health care will more than make up for the cost to the state, according to a study released Wednesday by the University of Michigan. The study, commissioned by the New York-based Commonwealth Fund and published in the New England Journal of Medicine on Wednesday, reports that cost savings to the state include $235 million the state isn’t spending for health care services, such as for prisoners in the state’s correctional facilities and mental health care for poor residents. The federal government, through the Affordable Care Act, is picking up those costs. (Gray, 1/4)

Reuters: Obamacare Repeal Would Cost New York State At Least $3.7 Billion: Governor
The repeal of the Affordable Care Act, the goal of Republicans in Washington, would cost New York state $3.7 billion and strip 2.7 million residents of health coverage, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Wednesday. Cuomo, a Democrat, also said counties in the state could lose nearly $600 million of federal Medicaid funding combined if the law, otherwise known as Obamacare, is repealed. New York City would lose the most, more than $433 million. (Russ, 1/4)

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