KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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N.H. Governor Presses For Extension Of Medicaid Expansion To Help Fight Opioid Crisis

Gov. Maggie Hassan says it is important for those fighting drug addiction to have access to treatment. In other Medicaid expansion news, the Alaska legislature's lawsuit against the governor's plan has a day in court, and some Montana enrollees are finally getting necessary medical services.

New Hampshire Union Leader: Hassan In State Of State Address: NH Is In A Strong Position
[Hassan] said Medicaid expansion is essential in the fight against the drug addiction crisis. “Addiction is a disease, and we must ensure that those afflicted with addiction can access services to treat this illness, just as we would for any other chronic condition,” Hassan said, praising the Senate for approving bills Thursday to expand drug courts, provide law enforcement grants and upgrade the drug monitoring program. (Rayno, 2/4)

KTVA (Anchorage, Alaska): Judge Hears Arguments In Medicaid Expansion Case, Says No Decision Until March
Anchorage Superior Court Judge Frank Pfiffner heard oral arguments from attorneys representing the State of Alaska as well as the Legislative Council, the Republican-dominated group representing the legislature suing the Governor. Both sides agreed the case was not about the merits of expanding medicaid coverage to thousands of vulnerable Alaskans, but whether the governor had the legal right to accept federal funding for the expansion without a vote from the legislature. (Maxwell, 2/4)

Alaska Dispatch News: Legislature's Medicaid Expansion Lawsuit Inches Forward
A lawsuit to halt Gov. Bill Walker’s Medicaid expansion inched forward Thursday morning as both sides made their cases in Superior Court, with the judge telling them not to expect a decision until the end of March. Each side was given 45 minutes to make their case. While both sides made a variety of arguments, they also agreed with Judge Frank Pfiffner that the case centers on the definition of one word in the state Medicaid statute: “requires.” The law in question says, “All residents of the state for whom the Social Security Act requires Medicaid coverage are eligible to receive medical assistance.” (Andrews, 2/4)

Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune: Uninsured Now Accessing Care With Medicaid Expansion
For the first time in eight years, Holly Blouch feels like she has a chance. The 37-year-old from Kalispell is one of the 27,000 Montanans who now has health insurance because of Medicaid expansion. She’s also eligible for a kidney transplant now that she has the coverage. “I’m trying so hard to get on that list,” she said. ... The expansion of Medicaid coverage in Montana means approximately 70,000 individuals are eligible for coverage, but the state only anticipated 45,000 people would sign up in the first few years, according to Jessica Rhodes, policy director for the Montana Department of Health and Human Services. (Cates, 2/4)

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