KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid Enrollment Is ‘Early Success Story,’ But Website’s Problems Are Still Causing Sign-Up Difficulties

The Associated Press reports on the larger enrollment in states that are expanding their Medicaid programs. However, The New York Times points out that the snags on the marketplace websites may be holding up thousands of others who will be eligible for the state-federal program for low-income people.

The Associated Press: Medicaid Is Health Overhaul's Early Success Story
The underdog of government health care programs is emerging as the rare early success story of President Barack Obama’s technologically challenged health overhaul. Often dismissed, Medicaid has signed up 444,000 people in 10 states in the six weeks since open enrollment began, according to Avalere Health, a market analysis firm that compiled data from those states. Twenty-five states are expanding their Medicaid programs, but data for all of them was not available (Alonso-Zaldivar, 11/12).

The New York Times: Problems With Federal Health Portal Also Stymie Medicaid Enrollment
Problems with the federal health insurance website have prevented tens of thousands of low-income people from signing up for Medicaid even though they are eligible, federal and state officials say, undermining one of the chief goals of the 2010 health care law (Pear, 11/11).

And in news from the states --

The Associated Press: Illinois Boosts Medicaid Rolls Under Obama Health Law
Although only a few hundred middle-class Illinois residents were able to sign up for health insurance last month on the crippled federal website, the poor appear to be having an easier time enrolling in an expansion of Medicaid -- and are doing so by the thousands. Illinois is among states expanding Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care law. It's the state, not the federal government, that's overseeing efforts to enroll new clients, and state officials have come up with some effective ways to do it -- especially for people already getting food stamps (11/11).

The Associated Press: Judge Sets Date To Hear Medicaid Expansion Lawsuit
A judge will hear arguments in a lawsuit seeking to block Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer's Medicaid expansion plan early next month. Maricopa County Superior Court judge Katherine Cooper set a Dec. 9 date to hear the suit filed in September on behalf of 36 Republican state lawmakers and a pair of citizens. The suit targets Brewer's plan to expand the state's health care program for the poor to about 300,000 additional Arizonans (11/12).

The Associated Press: N.H. Panels Considering Medicaid Expansion Bills
House and Senate committees are holding public hearings on competing plans to expand Medicaid in New Hampshire while legislative leaders work behind the scenes with the governor on a possible compromise. The House holds a hearing Tuesday morning while the Senate's hearing on its plan is in the afternoon. The committees working on the bills will vote on a recommendation Thursday (11/12).

The Associated Press: Enrollment Forms Mailed To Those Losing Medicaid
The state is mailing paper health insurance applications to an estimated 77,000 Wisconsin residents slated to lose Medicaid coverage in January but are having trouble accessing the federal online marketplace. Oshkosh Northwestern Media reported Monday that the move comes amid growing pressure from health care advocates and county officials who are calling on Gov. Scott Walker to take action as the Dec. 15 deadline for enrolling in coverage through the marketplace approaches (11/11).

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