Ariz. Weighs Medicaid Work Requirement, But HHS Has Rejected That For Other States
Arizona has already expanded its Medicaid program, but lawmakers there want to set tougher standards for those who are eligible. News outlets also report on the wait in Montana for the federal government to consider the state's expansion plans and a controversial statement by an aide to the Kansas governor.
Should Medicaid Recipients Have To Work?
If Arizona gets its way, its able-bodied, low-income adults will face the toughest requirements in the country to receive health care coverage through Medicaid. Most of the those Medicaid recipients and new applicants would have to have a job, be looking for one or be in job training to qualify for the joint federal-state program for the poor. They would have to contribute their own money to health savings accounts .... Some of Arizona’s proposals have been made in other states, and the federal government has signed off on them. It has rejected work requirements, however. (Ollove, 10/8)
The Great Falls Tribune:
Waiting For Medicaid Costly To Some Montanans
Holly Blouch wants to be working, and she wants to be healthy. But right now, it’s almost impossible to do both. Diagnosed with carcinoid disorder eight years ago, Blouch needed to work to have health insurance to pay for her medical care, which will some day involve needing a kidney transplant. But she can’t work enough hours to keep medical insurance because of her health. “There are a lot of people out there like me,” said the 37-year-old Kalispell woman. She’s referring to herself and the 69,999 other Montanans who now qualify for Medicaid coverage after the Montana Legislature approved the expansion plan this year. But she’s got to wait a little while longer to get that coverage while the federal government reviews Montana’s waiver application. (Cates, 10/8)
Governor’s Press Office Calls Medicaid Expansion ‘Morally Reprehensible’
Gov. Sam Brownback’s press office blasted Medicaid expansion as an “Obamacare ruse” in an e-mail to supporters Tuesday, signaling that the governor won’t back expansion anytime soon. Melika Willoughby, the governor’s deputy director of communications, pushed back against the claim that the state’s refusal to expand Medicaid helped cause the closure of Mercy Hospital in Independence. “Those who say Medicaid Expansion would save the Independence Hospital are lying. It wouldn’t,” Willoughby said in an e-mail to the governor’s supporters. “Instead, this Obamacare ruse funnels money to big city hospitals, creates a new entitlement class, and fails to rightly prioritize service for disabled citizens.” (Lowry, 10/7)
And in other Medicaid news -
Los Angeles Times:
Blue Shield's Deal With Regulators On $1.2-Billion Acquisition Draws Fire
Beleaguered insurer Blue Shield of California won state approval for its $1.2-billion acquisition of a Medicaid health plan, but the nonprofit company’s deal with regulators drew heavy criticism. The California Department of Managed Health Care said it extracted several key concessions from Blue Shield in an agreement unveiled Thursday. Ending a high-stakes and lengthy battle, the company agreed to permanently relinquish its longtime state tax exemption. (Terhune, 10/8)
The Associated Press:
DHS Director Says He Will Leave Department By End Of Year
The director of Arkansas' Department of Human Services said Thursday that he will leave his job by the end of the year. John Selig said in a news release that he told Gov. Asa Hutchinson about his plans to leave the department that has overseen the implementation of the state's "private option" Medicaid expansion plan. Hutchinson said in an emailed statement that he met with Selig on Wednesday and asked him to stay on through January to help with the transition. (Lauer, 10/8)