Va. Lawmakers To Take Up Medicaid Debate In September
State Republican legislative leaders who opposed expansion of the health care program for low-income residents announced that they will call the legislature into session to weigh the governor's proposal.
The Washington Post: In Va. Legislature, Republicans Plan Medicaid Debate In Late September
Republican leaders plan to call the House and Senate back into session in late September to debate Medicaid expansion, a move intended to give legislators another chance to weigh in on the issue as Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) tries to find a way to expand the program without their approval (Vozzella, 7/9).
The Associated Press: Republicans Announce Special Session On Medicaid
House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment announced Wednesday that the General Assembly will be back in session the week of Sept. 22 for a "full and fair" debate on whether Virginia should accept federal Medicaid funds to provide health insurance for as many as 400,000 low income residents (7/9).
The Richmond Times-Dispatch: General Assembly Will Return In September To Debate Medicaid
Republican opponents of expanding Virginia’s Medicaid program want the General Assembly to debate the idea in late September, but Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Democratic legislators say they’re still waiting for the GOP’s plan to close the health coverage gap for hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians. House Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, the leader of legislative opposition to using federal funds to expand health coverage, said Wednesday that he will call the House into session the week of Sept. 22 to debate the issue. Senate Republican leaders say they will do the same to honor their commitment to acting on the issue separately from the state budget, while blocking the governor from expanding coverage without legislative approval (Martz, 7/9).
Huffington Post: In States That Didn't Expand Medicaid, It's As If Obamacare Doesn't Even Exist For The Poor
Twenty-five states didn't take up the Obamacare Medicaid expansion at the beginning of this year, and the results speak for themselves: A new survey shows more than one-third of their lowest-income residents remain uninsured, a rate virtually unchanged from last year, even as millions gained coverage elsewhere (Young, 7/10).
Also, federal officials announce that they are seeking some states that are expanding benefits to move faster.
Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Feds Demand Medicaid Backlog Fixes By Six States
Tired of waiting for states to reduce their backlogs of Medicaid applications, the Obama administration has given six states until Monday to submit plans to resolve issues that have prevented more than 1 million low-income or disabled people from getting health coverage. The targeted states are Alaska, California, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Tennessee (Galewitz, 7/10).
The Tennessean: Feds Give Tennessee Ten Days To Address ACA Failures
The federal director of Medicaid programs has put Tennessee on notice that it has failed to provide services for people as required by the Affordable Care Act and is giving the state 10 days to submit a correction plan. The crux of the problem is delays with bringing a $35 million computer system online. However, Tennessee is also criticized for not providing people with face-to-face help in applying and for not setting up a program that allows hospitals to temporarily enroll people in Medicaid if they are presumed eligible. With this year's full implementation of the Affordable Care Act, Tennessee stopped providing state personnel to help people sign up for Medicaid and, instead, began directing them to use healthcare.gov, the federal health exchange (Wilemon, 7/9).
Meanwhile, Oregon is working to fix its state insurance marketplace.
The Oregonian: New Cover Oregon Executive Director Aaron Patnode Will Make $215,000 A Year
Cover Oregon's new executive director has signed a contract awarding him a base salary of $215,000 a year, more than a $30,000 raise over his predecessor. Aaron Patnode, selected by the health insurance exchange's board after a lengthy search to replace Howard "Rocky" King, starts Monday, July 14. The 36-year-old Kaiser Permanente manager will make more than twice the salary of Gov. John Kitzhaber. Patnode will also receive full state benefits as well as yearly incentive pay of $32,250 if he meets performance measures set by the Cover Oregon board (Budnick, 7/9).