KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Tenn., Utah Exploring Medicaid Expansion Options

Tenn. Gov. Bill Haslam says the state may soon send a proposal to Washington, while Utah Gov. Gary Herbert says he is hopeful about expansion for his state.

The Washington Post: 23 States Still Haven’t Expanded Medicaid. Which Could Be Next?
Thursday's announcement that Pennsylvania will expand its Medicaid program brings the country one state closer to the original expansion outlined under Obamacare. But because of the Supreme Court's 2012 decision making the expansion a voluntary program, there are still 23 states that haven't expanded public health insurance to all of their low-income residents. ... There are other states, though, that appear to be on the cusp of following in Pennsylvania's footsteps (Millman, 8/29).

The Tennessean/The Associated Press: Haslam May Submit Medicaid Expansion Plan In The Fall
In a move that could mean health coverage for thousands of Tennesseans, Gov. Bill Haslam said Thursday that the state may soon submit a proposal to Washington to expand Tennessee's Medicaid program but did not release any new details on how it might work (Wilemon, 8/28).

The Salt Lake Tribune: Utah’s Alternative To Medicaid Expansion Still Stalled
There's a persistent snag preventing federal health officials from agreeing, in concept, to Gov. Gary Herbert’s Healthy Utah plan: the work requirement. Herbert said Thursday during his monthly KUED news conference that he’s "cautiously optimistic" that he and the Obama administration’s Health and Human Services will resolve their differences over that final stumbling block when he’s in Washington next month (Moulton and Gehrke, 8/28).

In other state Medicaid news -

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Call Center Wait Times Climb In Missouri As Medicaid Applicants Seek Answers
When Deborah Weaver, 28, had issues enrolling in the state’s Medicaid coverage for pregnant women, a switch from her Medicaid disability coverage, she was directed to use a toll-free number, 1-855-373-4636. When she called, Weaver endured long waits and received no guidance. ... The call center, run by a private company based in Mississippi, handles hundreds of thousands of calls from Missourians ... Recent records obtained from the Missouri Department of Social Services by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch show that nearly half of the individuals that phoned the call center ended up hanging up, or "abandoning" the call (Liss, 9/1).

The Tennessean: U.S. Attorney: Tenncare Has 'Ultimate Responsibility' For Medicaid Applications
The U.S. Attorney’s office is rejecting assertions by TennCare that the federal government is to blame for a bungled Medicaid application process in Tennessee that has spawned a lawsuit. ... The lawsuit has nothing to do with Medicaid expansion. The controversy centers around how the state is processing and determining eligibility for people who might qualify for coverage under Tennessee’s existing rules (Wilemon, 8/29).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.