KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Ky. Governor’s Plan To Revamp Medicaid Raises Concerns About Poor Communities

Some people worry that Gov. Matt Bevin's plan to replace Kentucky's traditional Medicaid expansion with one that would require enrollees to contribute financially to their health care could undermine gains made in the "neediest corners of America," the Louisville Courier-Journal reports. Other outlets look at Louisiana's decision to expand Medicaid and the Obama administration's proposal to extend federal funding for the program.

Louisville Courier-Journal: Bevin's Medicaid Testing Ground Lies In E. Ky.
Newly elected Republican Gov. Matt Bevin ... announced plans to remake Kentucky’s Medicaid expansion to look more like nearby Indiana’s program, a more limited version that calls for patients to share more costs so they have a bigger stake in their care. ... If the governor succeeds and Medicaid changes begin next year, Kentucky would join six other states with specially-designed Medicaid expansion programs approved by the federal government. It also would be one of the first states to replace the traditional Medicaid expansion envisioned by the ACA with one that includes co-pays and premiums. Yet some worry that could undermine hard-won health care gains in one of the neediest corners of America, where struggles with poverty, unemployment and ill health are common. (Ungar and Kenning, 1/14)

The New York Times: New Louisiana Governor, John Bel Edwards, Is Off To A Volatile Start
John Bel Edwards was sworn in the Deep South’s only Democratic governor this week, and already he has experienced momentous triumph — and momentous defeat. In his first major act in office, Mr. Edwards signed an order expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, extending health benefits to roughly 300,000 poor Louisianans. Some of his supporters cried as he signed it. (Fausset and Alford, 1/14)

New Orleans Times Picayune: President Obama Takes Questions, Talks Medicaid Expansion In Baton Rouge
President Barack Obama used a Baton Rouge high school gymnasium Thursday (Jan. 14) to announce a far-reaching revision to financing Medicaid expansion aimed at convincing more states to adopt changes under the Affordable Care Act. ... If approved by Congress as part of Obama's 2017 budget, the change Obama announced Thursday will allow states that have resisted adopting Medicaid expansion to put off cost-sharing for three years. The change will mean that Louisiana, which began the process of expanding Medicaid eligibility to 300,000 residents on Tuesday, will not have to begin matching federal funds until 2020 instead of 2017. (Litten, 1/14)

New Orleans Times Picayune: Does Obama's Medicaid Proposal Set Mousetraps For Louisiana's GOP?
President Barack Obama's offer to pick up the tab for Gov. John Bel Edward's decision to expand Medicaid could put Louisiana Republicans opposed to "Obamacare" in a political bind. Support the president's plan, and risk the wrath of GOP voters who strongly oppose the Affordable Care Act. Oppose the offer, and risk placing a larger financial burden on Louisiana patients and residents. (Rainey, 1/14)

New Orleans Times Picayune: Medicaid Expansion Could Mean More Hiring, Investments By Hospitals
Medicaid expansion in Louisiana could mean big changes for hospitals across the state as they begin to see new revenue from patients who had been uninsured. One of the biggest challenges hospitals have faced is how to pay for treating patients without insurance. In some cases hospitals have closed emergency rooms because they couldnt't afford to treat those who couldn't pay. Gov. John Bel Edwards' decision to expand Medicaid will draw new federal funding for reimbursing medical providers who treat people who qualify for Medicaid, most of whom are the working poor. (Litten, 1/14)

Winston-Salem Journal: Medicaid Expansion Offer May Fall On Deaf Ears In Congress, N.C.
North Carolina would have the opportunity to expand its Medicaid program with 100 percent federal financing for the first three years, according to a proposal unveiled Thursday by the White House. However, analysts say the chances are slim for getting approval from a Republican-controlled Congress and a Republican-controlled N.C. General Assembly in an election year. As a result, the proposal may just serve as another election-year hot potato between those who want to get rid of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and those who want to provide Medicaid coverage to potentially another 500,000 North Carolinians. (Craver, 1/14)

Georgia Health News: Legislative Panel Reflects Divide On Medicaid Expansion
A bipartisan panel of state lawmakers voiced agreement Thursday on at least a couple of health care issues. Support for a higher cigarette tax, and for the emerging trend of ambulance crews treating people in their homes rather than in ERs were two areas of general unanimity on the panel, at an event sponsored by the group Georgians for a Healthy Future. But as expected, there was sharp division among the four legislators on the panel when it came to the issue of expanding the state’s Medicaid program. (Miller, 1/14)

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