Alaska Health Official Says Proposed Medicaid Expansion Could Face Delay
If the legislature were to accept the governor-elect's efforts to expand Medicaid, technical problems with the state's Medicaid enrollment and eligibility systems are still being addressed. Also, many Virginia residents in the "coverage gap" are feeling a pinch as they look for insurance.
The Associated Press:
Medicaid Expansion Could Be Months Away
[Alaska] health commissioner Valerie Davidson said it could be July before the state is in a position to begin enrolling Alaskans under expanded Medicaid coverage. Davidson said issues need to be worked out with a Medicaid eligibility system as well as with a Medicaid payment system that has been plagued by problems since going live in 2013. Both are being converted from one technology system to another, she said. (Bohrer, 12/14)
For Many In Va., Medicaid Coverage Gap Is Unaffordable
Many of the disappointed fall into the so-called "coverage gap," those whose incomes are below the lower limit for subsidies on the marketplace but above the Medicaid eligibility line. Virginia decided not to expand Medicaid, the state-federal insurance for low-income and disabled people -- which would have covered up to 400,000 Virginians -- and it already had one of the toughest eligibility standards in the country, sixth-most stringent by one report. "In some cases, they would have to pay 25 to 50 percent of their salary [to buy insurance], and that is not affordable," said Virginia Beach Health Director Heidi Kulberg, who was overseeing a recent ACA sign-up session at the city's library. "We try to take the time to explain, in a nonpartisan way, that they would have been covered, but the Supreme Court ruling on Medicaid expansion came out, and the state decided to opt out. People look at us like, 'Why won't you help me? Obamacare is no good because it's not helping me.'" (Simpson, 12/15)
In other news, The Fiscal Times explores how obesity treatments are straining the budgets of the Medicaid and Medicare programs.
The Fiscal Times:
How The Obesity Epidemic Drains Medicare And Medicaid
Federal and state officials are growing alarmed over the mounting share of government-provided health care going toward treating obesity as the number of overweight Americans continues to rise. (Pianin, 12/15)