KHN Morning Briefing

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Ark. Governor Says Legislative Primary Victories Boost His Plan For Medicaid Expansion

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says he views the victories of Medicaid expansion supporters as an endorsement of his efforts to get the legislature to accept his plan. Also, a key lawmaker in Alaska says legislative opponents of Medicaid expansion there will appeal a judge's ruling for the governor.

Arkansas Online: Governor Says Vote Buoys His Medicaid Plan
Key Medicaid expansion supporters in the Arkansas Legislature beat their opponents in Republican primaries. That will make it easier to persuade lawmakers to support Arkansas Works, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Wednesday. "Arkansas Works was on the ballot in the context of those who believe in providing common sense practical solutions to Arkansas ... standing up to those that are single issue or misconstrue the vote and misrepresent the vote," the governor told about 250 people attending a Political Animals Club luncheon in Little Rock. But legislative leaders agreed that the primary results shouldn't be taken as a voter mandate to continue the Medicaid expansion, in which the state is using federal funds to buy private health insurance for low-income Arkansans. (Fanney and Wickline, 3/3)

Modern Healthcare: Super Tuesday Results Boost Arkansas' Medicaid Expansion Hopes
Supporters of Arkansas' pioneering Medicaid expansion program are relieved that most of Tuesday's Republican state legislative primary contests resulted in victories for pro-expansion candidates. Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, who wants to preserve but modify his Democratic predecessor's expansion program, backed candidates in eight GOP primary races and saw six of those candidates win. (Meyer, 3/2)

KTUU (Anchorage, Alaska): Legislature Plans To Appeal Medicaid Expansion Decision To Supreme Court
Moments after Gov. Bill Walker learned on Tuesday that Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner sided with him and dismissed a lawsuit challenging the governor's authority to expand access to Medicaid without legislative approval, Walker told KTUU, "I hope it's the end of it. I hope we can get on with all we need to be doing at this point rather than suing one another." The optimism was short-lived, as a lawmaker who played a central role in the lawsuit said in a Wednesday afternoon interview that the Legislature will file an appeal with the Alaska Supreme Court. (Baird, 3/2)

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