KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

More GOP Governors Give Medicaid Expansion Another Look

Politico reports that while Republican governors in Texas and Louisiana remain firmly in the no camp, others in Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Indiana and Oklahoma are giving the program a second look. News outlets also offer updates from Florida, Pennsylvania, Kansas and Georgia.

Politico: GOP Governors May Still Go For Medicaid Expansion - And Cash
Republicans counting on a year of nonstop Obamacare-bashing may be in for an unwelcome surprise: more red-state governors ditching the political script to take a second look at the law’s huge expansion of Medicaid. Governors like Rick Perry of Texas and Bobby Jindal of Louisiana remain firmly in the “no way” camp. But Pennsylvania and Tennessee are actively working with the Obama administration to expand Medicaid, although their efforts to squeeze policy concessions on the GOP wish list — like requiring enrollees to pay more — could be a dead end. Indiana and Oklahoma are eyeing alternative versions of expansion and were granted a one-year reprieve by the Obama administration to extend existing state health care programs while they think about it (Cheney and Millman, 1/10).

Miami Herald: Expanding Medicaid An Uphill Battle In Florida Capitol
Florida’s 2013 legislative session practically started and ended with Medicaid expansion at the center of debate, with House Republicans blocking a plan to use federal dollars to reduce the number of uninsured Floridians. This year, House Republicans pledge to tackle issues that have long lingered on the back burner, such as more independence for highly trained nurses, increasing the number of medical students who go into primary care and regulating virtual doctor visits. But even as the focus shifts from Medicaid expansion, Democrats say it remains a top priority (Mitchell, 1/12).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Questions Persist About Corbett's Health-Care Plan
Depending upon whom you listen to, Healthy Pennsylvania, Gov. Corbett's plan to reform and expand the Medicaid program is a disappointing flip-flop; a good plan in need of tweaking; a bureaucratic nightmare; or all of the above. Those were some of the opinions voiced at a public hearing - one of six statewide - held a little over a week ago at the National Constitution Center on the administration's plan to extend health insurance to as many as 500,000 commonwealth residents (Calandra, 1/12).

Kansas Health Institute: Hospital Officials Say Refusal To Expand Medicaid Will Hurt Their Bottom Lines
For Jodi Schmidt and other hospital administrators across Kansas, Medicaid expansion is a critical business issue not a political one. Schmidt is chief executive of Labette Health, a 99-bed regional medical center that serves Parsons and several surrounding communities in southeast Kansas. She said the money being lost because of the decision by Gov. Sam Brownback and legislators to not participate in the first year of expansion could mean the difference between the hospital finishing the year in the black or with a deficit (McLean, 1/13).

Kansas Health Institute: Roundtable: The Politics Of Medicaid Expansion In Kansas And Missouri
Lawmakers in Kansas and Missouri return to start their 2014 legislative sessions this week. In Jefferson City, expanding Medicaid eligibility in accordance with Obamacare will be among the top five issues competing for attention, according to the Associated Press. In Topeka, the top priority for lawmakers likely will be school finance, with a potential decision coming from the Kansas Supreme Court that could force lawmakers to spend $400 million more on schools. It is less clear to what degree Medicaid expansion will be considered in Kansas, in part, because 2014 is a gubernatorial election year. In the roundtable discussion below — which aired Jan. 10 on KCPT — journalists who cover Medicaid expansion in Kansas and Missouri take a look at the politics of the issue (McLean, 1/12).

Kansas Health Institute: Kansas Medicaid: A Primer
Medicaid is a publicly financed source of health insurance and long-term care coverage for certain eligible population groups. It is the second-largest source of health coverage in the nation, following employment-based coverage (Bruner, Meissen-Sebelius and Mertz, 1/12).

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Nearly 6 In 10 In Georgia Favor Medicaid Expansion
More than half of Georgians in a new AJC poll say that all or at least parts of Obamacare should be repealed, but an even larger proportion believe the state should expand Medicaid. The poll, conducted for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution by Abt SRBI Inc., measured the views of registered voters across the state last week. While 53 percent favor repeal of the law, or at least parts of it, 57 percent of Georgians said the state should expand Medicaid under the terms of the Affordable Care Act — something Gov. Nathan Deal has so far decided not to do (Williams, 1/13).

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