KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Iowa Wins Approval To Expand Medicaid Using Private Plans

Federal officials approved much of Iowa's proposal to expand low-income health care, but - like the government's approval of Arkansas' request - set important conditions.

CQ HealthBeat: Iowa Second State To Expand Medicaid Via Exchange Coverage
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services approved on Tuesday Medicaid expansion waiver requests by the state of Iowa. CMS officials made few changes to the state’s plan, although they will not let the state charge monthly premiums to very low-income people (Adams, 12/10). 

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Iowa Wins Approval To Expand Medicaid By Using Federal Funds To Buy Private Plans
If the state accepts the terms of the agreement, it would become the second to be allowed to use federal dollars to finance the purchase of private health insurance for the newly Medicaid eligible. Arkansas was earlier granted that permission by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Appleby, 12/10).

The Associated Press: Feds Back Most Of Iowa’s Medicaid Expansion Plan
The announcement creates a political dilemma for the Republican governor, who has championed the use of premiums as a way to improve health outcomes in the state. Branstad did not immediately indicate Tuesday if he would accept the federal terms. ... The state has 30 days to accept the terms, which would provide the state with full funding for the program in 2014, 2015 and 2016 (Lucey, 12/10). 

Meanwhile, media outlets explore debate about the expansion in Tennessee and Florida --

The Tennessean: Haslam Lays Out Conditions For Tenncare Expansion
Gov. Bill Haslam has written federal officials a letter laying out what he thinks is needed to expand Medicaid in the state, following nearly nine months of talks but no concrete progress. Haslam announced Monday that his office would send a letter to Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius describing the status of his “Tennessee plan” to offer Medicaid to more of the poor in Tennessee. ... TennCare covers about 1.2 million residents in the state, but the program leaves out many working-poor adults. The Affordable Care Act calls on Tennessee to offer Medicaid to about 175,000 more people and includes a guarantee that the federal government will cover 90 percent of the cost or more until at least 2020 (Sisk, 12/10).

Kaiser Health News: Obamacare Benefits Elusive For Many Working Poor In Northern Florida
Getting people to sign up for health insurance under Obamacare is an uphill battle in much of Florida. Politicians have put up roadblocks to the law from the beginning - from joining in the lawsuit to thwart it in 2011 to placing restrictions on what health care navigators can discuss with those they advise. That means many don't know what the law might offer them (Whitney, 12/10).


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