Opting Out Of Medicaid Expansion Creates Coverage Gaps, Leaves Hospitals Short On Payments
The Wall Street Journal examines the gap created by some states deciding not to expand their Medicaid programs and what that decision means for hospitals' bottom lines. Also, Republican lawmakers consider "bailouts" for hospitals after they decided not to expand Medicaid. In the meantime, Arkansas' lawmakers get ready to debate the state's Medicaid experiment.
The Wall Street Journal: Millions Trapped In Health Law Coverage Gap
The 2010 health law was meant to cover people in Mr. Maiden's income bracket by expanding Medicaid to workers earning up to the federal poverty line -- about $11,670 for a single person; more for families. People earning as much as four times the poverty line -- $46,680 for a single person -- can receive federal subsidies. But the Supreme Court in 2012 struck down the law's requirement that states expand their Medicaid coverage. Republican elected officials in 24 states, including Alabama, declined the expansion .... The decision created a gap for Mr. Maiden and others at the lowest income levels who don't qualify for Medicaid coverage under varying state rules (Weaver, 2/9).
The Wall Street Journal: Hospitals Take Financial Hit In Failed Expansion of Medicaid
State decisions to decline federal offers to expand Medicaid costs hospitals, in addition to lower-wage workers. Hospitals backed the health care law because it promised to create new, paying customers. Instead, the failure to expand Medicaid coverage by some states not only adds fewer insured patients, it also eliminates the payments hospitals had long received to cover the cost of uninsured people they treat free (Weaver, 2/9).
The Associated Press: Republicans Debate Mini-Bailouts For Hospitals
Republican governors scored easy political points by rejecting President Barack Obama's plan to enroll more poor people in government health insurance. Now Republican leaders in Georgia and Mississippi may be bailing out hospitals that will lose funding they would have gotten from Obama's health care law. South Carolina's leaders increased payments to some hospitals in a push to improve rural health, though the extra money likely placated hospital officials who might otherwise have pressured Republicans to adopt the Democratic plan (Henry and Cassidy, 2/9).
Kaiser Health News: Arkansas' Medicaid Experiment, Key To Obamacare Expansion, On Ropes
The Arkansas' experiment, known as the "private option" marks the first large-scale attempt to enroll Medicaid recipients into the same private health insurance plans that any consumer might buy in the health law’s online insurance marketplace. That's different from how Medicaid typically works where enrollees must join state-operated programs or private managed care plans designed exclusively for the poor -- and which pay doctors less, sometimes a lot less. As a result, private option enrollees like Fant will have access to a larger network of doctors and hospitals than is usually available through Medicaid (Galewitz, 2/10). Read a related Q & A with Arkansas Gov. Mike Beebe.
The Associated Press: Arkansas Fiscal Session Focuses On Medicaid Expansion
There's no question among lawmakers that the compromise Medicaid expansion approved last year will be the focus as they convene this week for the third-ever fiscal session. What's up in the air is whether there's enough support to keep the so-called private option program alive -- and what will happen if the [state] abandons it (DeMillo, 2/9).
The Associated Press: No Signs Of Compromise On Va. Medicaid Expansion
Gov. Terry McAuliffe has plenty of allies in his efforts to expand Medicaid eligibility in Virginia, including the state’s hospitals, insurance companies, several business organizations, liberal advocacy groups, and even some Republican state senators. But as the 2014 legislative session nears its midway point, there’s no sign that the Democratic governor has made any headway winning over one key group: leaders in the GOP-controlled House of Delegates (Suderman, 2/9).
In other state Medicaid news -
The Associated Press: Suit Challenging Ariz. Gov's Medicaid Plan Tossed
A lawsuit challenging Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's Medicaid expansion plan that was filed by fellow Republicans in the state Legislature was dismissed in a ruling released Saturday, handing Brewer a major victory in her battle against conservative members of her own party. Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Katherine Cooper agreed with Brewer that the lawmakers challenging the law don't have the right to sue .... The suit was filed by the Goldwater Institute on behalf of 36 Republican legislators and several citizens, and Goldwater issued a statement saying it planned to appeal (Christie, 2/8).
The Associated Press: Pro-Medicaid Expansion Lawmakers Outrage Candidates
Republican legislators [in Arizona] who have received backlash from fellow conservatives for approving the state's expansion of Medicaid easily out-fundraised their colleagues and rivals last year, according to the latest figures reported by the Arizona Capitol Times (2/9).
The Associated Press/Washington Post: Feds Say They Fixed Medicaid Problem For Children
A wrinkle in the healthcare.gov website that temporarily left some children without insurance coverage has been fixed, federal officials said Friday. Children who have been denied Medicaid coverage can now be added to a subsidized plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said in a letter to a New Hampshire congresswoman (2/7).
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: Corbett Pushes Back Medicaid Payments In Budget
When Gov. Tom Corbett laid out his proposed budget last week, he said "sound budgeting and spending discipline" were key. But the biggest single source of savings in the proposal, some critics charge, is merely an accounting gimmick -- delaying a $394 million payment to Medicaid managed-care providers. Making the payment a month later -- at the start of a new fiscal year in July 2015, rather than June 2015 -- pushes the cost from the proposed 2014-15 fiscal year budget into the following year's budget (Giammarise, 2/9).
Billings Gazette: State Hearings Officer Rips Agency For Handling Of Missoula Family’s Medicaid Case
For Missoula electrician Bill Fister and his family, trying to obtain and determine Medicaid benefits for his aging parents had become a "nightmare” they thought would never end. ... But now, the nightmare may be over — thanks in part to a scathing opinion by a state hearings officer, who last month blasted the state agency handling Medicaid and called its actions in the Fister case "unconscionable," a "deception" and "an incomprehensible mess" (Dennison, 2/10).