KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid Enrollment Progresses Under Health Overhaul

Gov. Scott Walker says he wants to delay his plan to move more than 70,000 people off Medicaid because the health law online marketplaces are not working well enough yet.

USA Today: Medicaid Enrollment Is Health Law's Bright Spot
Amid the low enrollment numbers for health insurance via the website, the Obama administration found one bright spot: Medicaid. Almost 400,000 people have learned they are eligible to enroll in the states' Medicaid programs, and the numbers are high even in Republican-dominated states that have chosen not to expand the program (Kennedy, 11/14).

The New York Times: Wisconsin Governor Seeks To Extend Medicaid
Blaming an "abysmal" rollout of the new federal insurance market, Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin said on Thursday that he would ask the Legislature to allow thousands of low-income residents to remain in the state's Medicaid program until April 1 — a three-month extension. In a news conference, Mr. Walker, a Republican, said he would ask the Legislature, which is Republican-controlled, to return in early December to vote on his proposal. Under current state law, about 77,000 Wisconsin residents would be removed from the state's Medicaid rolls on Jan. 1 and required to obtain insurance in the subsidized online federal marketplace created by President Obama's Affordable Care Act (Yaccino, 11/14).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Scott Walker To Delay Moving Residents Off Medicaid
Responding to the troubled rollout of Obamacare, Gov. Scott Walker said Thursday he would delay for three months his plan to move more than 70,000 state residents out of state health coverage and into an online federal insurance market. At a Capitol news conference, the Republican governor said he would call lawmakers in for a special legislative session in early December to pass the change and keep those 77,500 patients from losing their state BadgerCare Plus coverage in January before the federal insurance program is ready to accept them. Walker said he wouldn't take any additional federal Medicaid money to keep the recipients on BadgerCare and instead would pay for the extra expense by delaying the roughly similar cost of adding a new group of more than 80,000 very-low-income adults to the state program (Stein, 11/14).

The Associated Press: Wis. Gov Calls Special Session On Medicaid
Gov. Scott Walker called a special legislative session Thursday to extend the deadline for moving 77,000 people of Medicaid until April, saying they need more time to sign up for private insurance through the problem-plagued online federal health care exchange. Walker, a Republican, toughened Medicaid eligibility in the state budget, saying those people could find private coverage through the exchange. He had given everyone who would lose coverage until Dec. 15 to sign up for an alternative plan through the exchange to ensure uninterrupted coverage on Jan. 1 (11/14).

In other states -

Kaiser Health News: Oregon Shines On Medicaid, As Texas Stalls On Sign-Ups
The spokeswoman for Oregon Health Authority says that while the state’s reputation is that "people haven't enrolled in the new coverage available in Oregon," in fact "that's not accurate. We have 70,000 people." She's talking about some of the state's poorest uninsured folks. A work-around helped 70,000 of them secure coverage in its version of Medicaid. ... The work-around is necessary because Cover Oregon's website isn’t functioning. ... Meanwhile, in Texas, the get-out-to-the-people approach hasn't gotten much momentum. Only about 3,000 Texans have signed up for private insurance and the state isn't expanding its Medicaid program (Foden-Vencil and Feibel, 11/14).

The Associated Press: House, Senate Panels Recommend Expanding Medicaid
House and Senate committees voted Thursday to recommend that New Hampshire expand Medicaid to an estimated 49,000 poor adults, but their plans differ on how to implement the expansion. A key difference between the two bills is how quickly New Hampshire shifts the adults from a state-managed care program to private insurance through the federal insurance marketplace. The Republican-led Senate would shift people in 2015 (Love, 11/14).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Expansion Could Save Maryland $2B
A recent report has found, Maryland’s decision to expand its Medicaid program could save the state more than $2 billion. The Daily Record reports that an assessment of the economic impact of the expansion of eligibility to another 146,000 people starting in January found that Maryland could see a net savings of more than $2 billion from 2014 to 2020 (11/14).

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