KHN Morning Briefing

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Some GOP Governors Feeling Pressure To Expand Medicaid

The Fiscal Times examines how even some politicians, such as Kentucky's new governor, who campaigned on their opposition to the federal health law are being pressured on Medicaid expansion. Also in the news, a forum in Kansas on the benefits of expansion and a look at the issue in New Hampshire's legislative session.

The Fiscal Times: Some GOP Governors Flip For Medicaid Funds -- On Their Terms
Newly ensconced Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) last week backed away from his campaign pledge to repeal expanded Medicaid coverage for 400,000 low-income people in the face of the widespread popularity of the program. ... Now the new Republican governor is sounding a different political tune, declaring he will seek a waiver from the federal Centers on Medicare and Medicaid Services to reform the program in a way that better reflects his conservative principles .... Bevin’s decision is important because it reflects the changing posture of some previously recalcitrant Republican governors who rejected the Obamacare program but now are feeling pressure to find some middle ground between a full-blown expansion of Medicaid and a more limited approach. (Pianin, 1/5)

KCUR (Kansas City, Mo., Public Radio): KanCare Forum Explores Conservative Path To Medicaid Expansion
If policy makers in deep-red Indiana can do it, so can their equally conservative counterparts in Kansas. That was the dominant – though not unanimously held – message at a forum Tuesday at Johnson County Community College, where the topic was expanding the Kansas Medicaid program to cover as many as 150,000 additional Kansans. Doug Leonard, president of the Indiana Hospital Association, told an audience of more than 300 people at the forum that Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who is every bit as conservative as Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback, was satisfied that Medicaid expansion in Indiana was fiscally sound in the short- and long-term. (Sherry, 1/5)

Wichita (Kan.) Eagle: Medicaid Debate Creeps Closer To Kansas Legislative Session
Kansas lawmakers, health care officials and business leaders gathered Tuesday in Overland Park for a forum hosted by the Kansas Hospital Association in hopes of widening support for KanCare expansion before the 2016 legislative session starts Monday. KanCare is the Kansas Medicaid program, which provides insurance for people with low incomes or disabilities. The event mirrored a November forum in Wichita hosted by 14 health care organizations with the same goal: Convince Kansas Republicans to expand Medicaid. (Dunn, 1/5)

The Associated Press: Legislature To Launch Session; Medicaid, Drug Abuse On Tap
New Hampshire's Legislature is opening its election-year session with plenty of political maneuvering expected to steer policy discussions. One of the biggest issues facing lawmakers when they get back to work Wednesday will be whether to continue the expansion of Medicaid, which has provided subsidized health insurance to more than 45,000 people since it took effect in 2014. (Ronayne, 1/6)

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