Arizona Supreme Court Weighs Challenge To Medicaid Expansion
The challenge, which could affect 400,000 who gained coverage when Arizona opted to accept the federal health law's option to expand eligibility for Medicaid, is based on an argument that the legislature needed a two-thirds majority to pass the expansion. Lower courts have rejected the claim. In other Medicaid news, a look at Maine's referendum, Kentucky's waiver request and controversies in Mississippi and Louisiana.
The Associated Press:
Arizona High Court Hears Medicaid Expansion Challenge
The fate of a hospital assessment that helps pay for a Medicaid expansion plan that now covers 400,000 additional Arizona residents is in the hands of the Arizona Supreme Court. The high court heard a challenge Thursday to the assessment that was brought by Republican lawmakers but didn't indicate when it would issue a ruling. An attorney for the Goldwater Institute, representing the GOP lawmakers, argued that the hospital fee required a two-thirds vote under a 1992 Constitutional amendment known as Proposition 108 that was approved by state voters. (Christie, 10/26)
Fate Of GOP's Challenge To Medicaid Expansion Now In Hands Of The Arizona Supreme Court
The court challenge, if successful, could jeopardize health care for 400,000 low-income Arizonans who gained insurance coverage under the Medicaid expansion. The lawsuit was rejected by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge in 2015, and the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld that decision in March. Still, a Goldwater Institute attorney representing the lawmakers pressed ahead with an argument before the seven-member Arizona Supreme Court that the assessment is a tax that required the vote of a two-thirds majority of the Legislature under Proposition 108, which was passed by voters in 1992. (Alltucker, 10/26)
Would Expanding Medicaid Help Or Harm Mainers And The State's Hospitals?
Next month, voters will decide whether the state should expand Medicaid. At stake is health coverage for an estimated 70,000 Mainers as well as financial stability for hospitals. In 2016, half of Maine’s hospitals were in the red. They didn’t have enough revenue to cover operating expenses. Expanding Medicaid would reimburse them for many patients who currently receive charity care. But opponents say expanding Medicaid is not the answer for hospitals’ financial woes, and would only repeat mistakes from the past. (Wight, 10/26)
The Associated Press:
Kentucky Confident Trump Will Approve Medicaid Request
Kentucky officials say they expect the Trump administration to approve their request to overhaul the state's Medicaid program following multiple failed efforts in Congress to slash the expensive health care system. With nearly 500,000 people added to Kentucky's Medicaid rolls under a provision of former President Barack Obama's health care law, Kentucky's Republican governor vowed to end that part of the program if the federal government did not give him permission to make significant changes. (Beam, 10/26)
Jackson (Miss.) Clarion-Ledger:
Gov. Bryant Wants Medicaid Eligibility Under Human Services, Alludes To Work Requirement
Gov. Phil Bryant has instructed officials to develop plans to transfer all Medicaid eligibility verification responsibilities to the Department of Human Services. If the change is made, Human Services will be responsible for determining the eligibility of Medicaid applicants, alongside applicants for the services they already provide like Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program. At the same time, talk of implementing a work requirement for Medicaid recipients, something the federal government has not previously approved, is gaining traction. (Wolfe, 10/26)
The Associated Press:
Task Force: Is Louisiana Medicaid Drug Spending Inflated?
Louisiana appears to be shelling out millions of dollars more for Medicaid patients’ prescription drugs than it pays to pharmacies, with the extra money pocketed by private companies managing the patients’ care. A task force created by lawmakers is searching for waste in Louisiana’s $12.5 billion Medicaid program and wants more details on how those deals work — and how much money the state is steering to middle-managers above what the pharmacists receive. (Deslatte, 10/26)