KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Report To Alaska Legislature Disputes Some Opponents’ Efforts To Stop Expanding Medicaid

Republican lawmakers are challenging Gov. Bill Walker's decision to use executive action to implement the expansion but a report they ordered may not help their case. Also, outlets report on Medicaid expansion news in North Carolina and South Dakota and the future of the program after the 2016 presidential election.

Alaska Dispatch News: New Medicaid Reports Repudiate GOP Fears, Outline Redesign Ideas
One new report on Alaska’s expanded Medicaid health care system repudiates lawmakers who raised fears about its unintended consequences, while another provides new ideas to control spending on the $600 million program. ... [Gov. Bill] Walker, a Republican-turned-independent, ultimately used his executive power to expand the program unilaterally — a move that’s now subject to a legal challenge from the Legislature. But as attorneys prepare for oral arguments in that case next week, a new report commissioned by the Legislature itself dismisses some of the challenges that lawmakers themselves made against expansion, which now covers about 8,000 low-income Alaskans. (Herz, 1/25)

Winston-Salem (N.C.) Journal: Filling Coverage Gap For Working Poor Is Goal For Medicaid Expansion
A group of health care experts acknowledged Monday that Medicaid expansion is at least a year away from serious consideration in General Assembly. However, they stressed at a forum at Wake Forest University Law School that expansion for an additional 500,000 North Carolinians doesn’t have to wait until the potential completion of Medicaid reform. There are options outside expansion, such as providing vouchers, to help the working poor escape the coverage gap, said state Rep. Donny Lambeth, R-Forsyth, a key writer of the reform bill that passed the legislature in September. The big question is whether there is any support among Republican legislative leaders. (Craver, 1/25)

Sioux Falls (S.D.) Argus Leader: Conservatives Target Medicaid Plan
A conservative organization is launching an ad campaign against Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s plan to expand Medicaid, targeting conservative voters to mobilize against the plan. Americans for Prosperity, a heavyweight among conservative grassroots organizations, started the campaign this morning by running radio ads on KELO Newstalk radio in Sioux Falls and KOTA-AM in Rapid City. Ben Lee, the group’s state director, said the ad buy would run for at least a week, and could be expanded. Expanding Medicaid, the ad says, would drive up the federal debt, which is a big concern to many fiscal conservatives in South Dakota. (Ellis, 1/25)

Stateline: Is Medicaid Expansion Near A Tipping Point?
[I]n the lead up to the November presidential election, supporters of the ACA aren’t holding out much hope that more states will join in extending Medicaid coverage to more people .... After a new president is elected, the situation could change and more states could join in expanding coverage, predicted Joan Alker, executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families, which advocates for greater health care coverage for the poor. ... Many Republican governors and lawmakers have rejected the deal, fearing they would lose their jobs if they were seen cooperating with President Barack Obama on a law most conservatives abhor. With Obama out of office, that could change. (Vestal, 1/26)

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