KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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N.H. Lawmakers Weigh Work Requirement As They Prepare For Medicaid Expansion Vote

The legislature is expected to vote this week on a measure determining whether to continue the state's Medicaid expansion program. In Arkansas, a panel backs the governor's plan to continue the state's expansion, and a Kansas poll finds community support growing for Medicaid.

New Hampshire Public Radio: N.H.'s Medicaid Expansion Could Face Hurdle Around Work Requirements
On Wednesday the House will take up one of this session’s most significant pieces of legislation – whether to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion program another two years. One of the biggest hurdles supporters of the bill have to overcome on the floor this week relies on the measure’s work requirements. Under the current proposal, Medicaid recipients would be required to work or volunteer a total of 30 hours a week to receive benefits. Several other states have tried such requirements, but the federal government rejected them. (Sutherland, 3/7)

New Hampshire Union Leader: Future Of Medicaid Divides NH Business Community
The New Hampshire business community is divided over the future of Medicaid in the state, as the House prepares for a key vote this week on the health insurance program for low-income families and individuals. The statewide Business and Industry Association on Monday urged lawmakers to continue the Medicaid expansion launched two years ago, while a coalition of conservative business owners called the program “corporate welfare” for the hospitals and insurance companies. (Solomon, 3/7)

The Associated Press: Arkansas Panel Backs Medicaid Plan, Split Over Managed Care
A legislative panel on Monday endorsed Gov. Asa Hutchinson's plan to keep Arkansas' hybrid Medicaid expansion, but it deadlocked on his proposal to have private companies manage some of the state's services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. The Health Reform Legislative Task Force recommended lawmakers consider Hutchinson's proposal to keep and rework the state's "private option," which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. Hutchinson, a Republican, has proposed renaming the program "Arkansas Works" and adding new restrictions on its eligibility and benefits. (DeMillo, 3/7)

Arkansas Online: Task Force: Sustain Reach Of Medicaid
In a 10-2 vote, a state legislative task force on Monday expressed support for continuing health coverage for more than 267,000 low-income Arkansans under the state’s expanded Medicaid program, but it split on whether the state should turn to managed-care companies to reduce the cost of caring for the disabled and mentally ill. Eight members of the Health Care Reform Legislative Task Force voted in favor of the managed-care proposal, supported by Republican Gov. Asa Hutchinson, while seven members voted to recommend an alternate proposal supported by opponents of managed care. (Davis, 3/8)

KUAR (Little Rock, Ark.): Legislators Give Go Ahead To Arkansas Governor's Medicaid Expansion Plan
More detailed legislation embodying what Gov. Asa Hutchinson has lined out for his Arkansas Works program is expected for a task force vote on March 29 now that the concept has been approved. It then would head to a special session April 6th requiring a majority vote on enabling legislation followed by the fiscal session April 13th requiring a three-fourths vote for funding. The continuation of Medicaid expansion has been predicated on federal officials approving several waivers from the Hutchinson administration to add new restrictions to coverage and on eliminating $835 million in five years from the traditional, non-expanded Medicaid population. (Kauffman, 3/7)

Topeka (Kan.) Capital-Journal: Poll Finds Kansans Support Budget-Neutral Medicaid Expansion
Kansans overwhelmingly support expanding a budget-neutral Medicaid proposal, a poll released Monday said, but the chairman of the House health committee challenged the “budget-neutral” aspect of the KanCare Bridge to a Healthy Kansas Program. The legislation, proposed in House Bill 2633 and Senate Bill 371, has been promoted by the Kansas Hospital Association and other proponents of KanCare expansion as budget neutral, with the potential to generate revenue for the state. (Chilson, 3/7)

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