KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

For Many States, Medicaid Expansion Plans Remain Unsettled

Federal officials remind Florida lawmakers that it is not too late to opt into the program, while in Virginia, Politico reports the issue could be decided by this fall's gubernatorial election. Also, an Arizona push to get the issue on the ballot in November may fail because of paperwork errors and the Michigan Senate considers a tweaked expansion bill that requires co-pays for new Medicaid enrollees.

Politico: Race May Sway Virginia Medicaid Expansion
You won't see it listed on the ballot, but a major piece of Obamacare could be decided by Virginia voters this November. The fate of the Medicaid expansion in Virginia could hinge on whether Democrat Terry McAuliffe or Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli — who boosted his national profile with his fight against the health care law — moves into the governor’s mansion next year. And the preliminary skirmishes already have drawn tea party attention (Millman, 7/25).

The Associated Press: Feds Say It's Not Too Late For Medicaid Expansion
The Obama administration reminded Florida lawmakers Wednesday that it's not too late to expand Medicaid to more than 1 million residents in the state. Health and Human Services officials laid out many of their same talking points during a telephone conference with reporters (Kennedy, 7/24).

Miami Herald: Feds To Florida: Not Too Late For Medicaid Expansion
Federal officials on Wednesday renewed calls for Florida lawmakers to accept an estimated $50 billion over the next 10 years to expand Medicaid, the joint state and federal health insurance program for the poor, to cover an additional one million Floridians who would otherwise remain uninsured even after Jan. 1 when healthcare reform begins in earnest. Saying it’s not too late for Florida to accept federal funds available for Medicaid expansion, officials with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services held a conference call with reporters to reiterate the economic and social benefits of expanding the healthcare safety net for the state’s poorest residents (Chang and McGrory, 7/24).

Arizona Republic: Flaws Seen In Medicaid Ballot Push
Organizers of a petition drive to refer Medicaid expansion to the November 2014 ballot have made significant errors in their paperwork that could doom the effort, attorneys for pro-Medicaid forces say. Kory Langhofer, representing the pro-expansion Restoring Arizona, wrote to Secretary of State Ken Bennett this week urging him to get involved. Supporters of the anti-expansion group, United Republican Alliance of Principled Conservatives, or URAPC, should know that their efforts may be for nothing, he wrote (Reinhart, 7/24).

Detroit Free Press: Tweaked Medicaid Expansion Bill Introduced In State Senate
The guts of the Medicaid expansion bill passed in the state House of Representatives in June remains in the Senate bill introduced Wednesday by its sponsor, Sen. Roger Kahn, R-Saginaw. The bill that was developed by a work group over the past month requires a 5% co-pay from new Medicaid recipients that will go up to 7% after 48 months. If a person has a chronic disease or is mentally ill, the co-pay would remain at 5% past 48 months. But the new bill, which could be voted on in late August, also adds some carrots — incentives for people who reach healthy lifestyle goals — and sticks for people who don’t contribute toward their co-pays (Gray, 7/24).

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