KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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N.H. Senate Begins Debate On Continuing Medicaid Expansion

State lawmakers are considering whether to keep the expansion of the health program for low-income residents that was implemented under the federal health law. Other outlets look at Medicaid expansion news in Montana and Kentucky.

New Hampshire Union Leader: Senators Hear From Both Sides On Medicaid Expansion In NH
The battleground over Medicaid expansion shifted to the Senate on Tuesday with supporters and opponents reiterating their arguments at a public hearing. Supporters say the New Hampshire Health Protection Program provides health coverage for nearly 49,000 low-income adults, helps to ensure a healthier workforce, puts the brakes on increases in health care and insurance premiums and is the best tool the state has to fight the opioid crisis gripping New Hampshire. ... But opponents said the program provides free health care to able-bodied adults by expanding the federal debt, while preventing the state from addressing other social service needs and providing a windfall for hospitals and insurance companies. (Rayno, 3/22)

Great Falls (Mont.) Tribune: Medicaid Expansion Totals Surpass Estimates
Enrollment in a new Medicaid expansion program totals 38,298 as of March 15, with American Indians as 12 percent of the enrollees, members of a state panel overseeing expansion of the program in Montana were told Tuesday. The Montana Health and Economic Livelihood Partnership Oversight Committee reviewed the numbers for the HELP Act, passed by the 2015 state Legislature. (Drake, 3/22)

Kaiser Health News: Montana Medicaid Expansion Earns Good Grades In First Report Card
Montana’s new Medicaid expansion just got its first progress report, and it is exceeding expectations. Initial projections were for about 23,000 of the state’s estimated 70,000 Medicaid-eligible residents to take up the new coverage in its first year. Instead, in the first quarter, since its rollout on Jan. 1, enrollment is at 38,298. The report came Tuesday from the Medicaid expansion oversight committee that Montana’s legislature set up when it approved expansion last year. Supporters cheered the numbers, but some Republicans are still pushing for repeal. (Whitney, 3/23)

Daily Interlake: Signups Surpass Predictions
More than 38,000 previously uninsured Montanans have enrolled for health coverage from the state’s Medicaid expansion program — surpassing projections by thousands. ... State officials said they are especially encouraged by the number of young adults who have enrolled. ... Of those who have enrolled, 82 percent fall below the poverty line, roughly 12 percent have been American Indians and 46 percent have been between the ages of 19 and 34. (Houghton, 3/22)

Louisville Courier-Journal: Kentucky House Votes To Preserve Kynect
In a largely symbolic action, the House voted Tuesday to preserve Kentucky's health insurance exchange, kynect, and its expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The votes, carried by the Democratic majority, came the same day as a new, national study found that states that have expanded Medicaid under the law also known as Obamacare are faring far better than states that have rejected the additional health coverage. But House Bill 5, to keep kynect, and House Bill 6, to preserve the Medicaid expansion, likely will die in the Senate, controlled by Republicans - which House Speaker Greg Stumbo acknowledged even as he spoke in favor of HB 5. (Yetter, 3/22)

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