KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid Official Outlines State Flexibility In Health Law’s Medicaid Expansion

Politico Pro reports that Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services official Cindy Mann outlined Monday how states could choose to expand their coverage under the health law and then later drop it if they choose. This is the first time states will be allowed to drop such new coverage. Meanwhile, Modern Healthcare reports on how employers might be impacted if states opt not to expand their Medicaid programs.

Politico Pro: Mann: States Can Drop Medicaid Expansion
CMS Medicaid Director Cindy Mann said Monday that if states decide to expand Medicaid to new populations under the Affordable Care Act, they can later drop the coverage, according to sources who attended the meeting. Mann made the remarks at the National Conference of State Legislatures meeting in Chicago on Monday and outlined the new policy in a PowerPoint presentation obtained by Politico.  She acknowledged that that was the first time she said states will be allowed to drop the new coverage later if they want, according to several attendees (Haberkorn, 8/6).

Modern Healthcare: Reform's Reduced Effect On Medicaid Could Impact Employers
Employers could be liable for stiff financial penalties as a result of a portion of the U.S. Supreme Court's health care reform law ruling that invalidated massive federal sanctions against states that fail to expand eligibility for their Medicaid programs. In addition, the Medicaid part of the ruling could result in a much smaller reduction in the number of uninsured U.S. residents compared with earlier projections, according to estimates by the Congressional Budget Office. If those projections hold true, the effect of one of the big positives of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act for employers -- a reduction of uncompensated care costs, which providers now shift to employer health plans -- could be much smaller than employers had hoped (Geisel, 8/6).

Meanwhile, news outlets continue to report on the federal role in creating and operating health exchanges --

The Associated Press: Governors Aside, Feds Building Health Care Markets
Don't look now: The feds may be gaining on GOP governors who've balked at carrying out a key part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law. Opponents of the law say they won't set up new private health insurance markets called exchanges. But increasingly it's looking like Washington will just do it for them. That means federal officials could be calling the shots on some insurance issues that states traditionally manage, from handling consumer complaints to regulating plans that will serve many citizens (Alonso-Zaldivar, 8/7).

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