KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Va. Officials Using Two-Week Respite To Bolster Arguments On Medicaid Expansion

The state's legislature adjourned without a budget because of arguments over growing the program for low income residents, and lawmakers will come back to try again March 24. Meanwhile, state efforts on similar questions also make news in Maryland, Georgia and Maine.

The Washington Post: Virginia’s Fight Over Medicaid Expansion Shifts From Capitol To Cities, Towns, Rural Enclaves
Legislators left dug-in Richmond on Saturday after an impasse on Medicaid expansion prevented the passage of a state budget. They return March 24 to try again in a special session. That gives them two weeks to beat the drum for or against Medicaid expansion and to line up support from mayors, business leaders and ordinary Virginians (Vozzella, 3/12).

The Associated Press: Republicans Confident On Va. Medicaid Fight
Virginia House Republican leaders said Wednesday the momentum is in their favor in the battle with Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Democratic lawmakers over whether to expand Medicaid eligibility. House Majority Leader Kirk Cox said growing public opinion agrees with the Republican position that lawmakers should pass a budget before debating Medicaid (3/12).

The Washington Post: Mizeur: Maryland Is Not Doing Enough To Boost Medicaid Enrollment
Amid all of the shortcomings and embarrassments of the Maryland health insurance exchange, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) and other leaders have pointed to one bright spot: The number of people signing up for Medicaid has exceeded their expectations. But Del. Heather R. Mizeur (D-Montgomery), who is running for governor, says Maryland is still not doing enough to get as many low-income families and individuals as possible signed up for Medicaid. Given that the federal government is picking up the cost of these new enrollees for the next few years, she said that not maximizing enrollment will only continue to cost the state in uncompensated care. State health officials argue their own strategies are working just fine (Johnson, 3/12).

Georgia Health News: Medicaid Expansion Bill Gets New Twist
House Bill 990 started out the day as what its sponsor called a "straightforward, one-paragraph proposal" — requiring legislative approval of any expansion of the Georgia Medicaid program. But after a committee hearing Wednesday, the bill has acquired a lot of added material: It now has the original Senate-passed foster care reform legislation attached to it. Sen. Renee Unterman (R-Buford), with a committee substitute, added the foster care language to 990 in a surprise move that reflects the late-session tug-of-war between the state Senate and House over certain key legislation, including the gun-carry bill (Miller, 3/12).

Bangor Daily News/Sun Journal: Maine Senate Passes Medicaid Expansion Bill But Falls Short Of Veto-Proof Majority
After more than three hours of debate on a Republican compromise to a Democratic effort to expand Maine’s low-income health care program, known as MaineCare, the compromise passed 22-13 Wednesday in the state Senate. The measure failed to garner the 24 votes it would need to be considered safe from a Gov. Paul LePage veto (Thistle, 3/12).

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