KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Va. Senate Sends Budget With Medicaid Expansion To House

A key Republican leader says, however, that the House will not take up that measure. In Georgia, protesters resume demands for Medicaid expansion, and Sen. Mary Landrieu encourages lawmakers in Louisiana to move forward on the effort there.

The Associated Press: Va. Senate Passes Budget With Expanded Medicaid
The Virginia Senate approved its version of a roughly $96 billion two-year budget Tuesday as Republicans and Democrats pointed fingers over who is responsible for a potential state government shutdown. Two weeks after the start of a special session devoted to passing a state budget, the Democratically controlled Senate approved a spending plan that includes accepting federal Medicaid funds to provide new health insurance to as many as 400,000 low-income residents (4/8).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Senate Passes Budget With Private Health Care Option
The Virginia Senate has approved its version of the state budget with a plan for extending health coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians, but the spending plan is not likely to go anywhere in the House of Delegates. The 22-15 vote on Tuesday sends the Senate budget to the House and substitutes the Marketplace Virginia plan for the two-year Medicaid expansion pilot Gov. Terry McAuliffe proposed after the General Assembly adjourned without a budget on March 8. However, House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, made clear that the Senate budget will not emerge from his committee because the House budget remains the traditional vehicle for negotiating a state spending plan (Martz and Nolan, 4/8).

The Associated Press: Protestors Demand Expansion Of Georgia Medicaid
Dozens of demonstrators gathered outside Gov. Nathan Deal’s mansion to demand that Georgia expand its Medicaid program. The protesters were part of the Moral Monday group, which has held demonstrations in several states to protest laws they consider attacks on the poor and other marginalized groups (4/8).

The Associated Press: Landrieu Asks Lawmakers To Back Medicaid Expansion
While she was visiting Baton Rouge, U.S. Sen. Mary Landrieu said she was meeting with state lawmakers to encourage them to support the expansion of Louisiana's Medicaid program. Several bills proposed in the current legislative session would allow as many as 252,000 uninsured Louisiana residents to get free, government-funded health insurance through the Medicaid expansion allowed under President Barack Obama's health care law (4/8).

In states that have moved forward with expansion, some providers are struggling to stay ahead of the patient load.

Kaiser Health News: Oregon Medicaid Plan Sees High Demand
Millions of Americans who didn't have health insurance last year now do, as a result of the Affordable Care Act. In Lane County, Oregon, Trillium Community Health Plan is struggling to deal with a huge influx of new patients. CEO Terry Coplin says they expected 26,000 people to sign up in the first few years. Instead, about that many signed up in the first few months (Foden-Vencil, 4/8).

The California Health Report: The Waiting Room: L.A. County’s Medi-Cal Backlog
As the deluge of applications for Medi-Cal through continues to flood into Covered California, local health advocacy groups and providers throughout Los Angeles County say the sizable enrollment backlog is delaying health care services for needy residents. In L.A. County, 175,000 applications for the Medi-Cal program, which was expanded under the Affordable Care Act, were still being processed as of mid-March, and some were filed as far back as October, according to Katie Murphy of Neighborhood Legal Services of Los Angeles County (NLSLA). In California, 700,000 people are still awaiting enrollment in Medi-Cal, according to the state’s Department of Health Care Services (Portner, 4/9).

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