KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Votes, Plans Heat Up Medicaid Expansion Issue In States

Lawmakers and officials in Wyoming, Mississippi, Florida, Colorado and California hold hearings, take votes and consider their very different stances on whether to expand their Medicaid programs.

The Associated Press: Wyoming Lawmakers Vote Against Medicaid Expansion
Wyoming will reject federal money for an expansion of Medicaid intended to cover tens of thousands of low-income residents if the state Senate follows the advice of a legislative committee. The Senate Labor Health and Social Services Committee voted 4-to-1 Wednesday to recommend the full Senate kill a bill that would add nearly 18,000 people to the Medicaid rolls in the state (1/24).

The Associated Press: Some Miss. Hospitals Backing Medicaid Expansion
Some Mississippi hospital administrators say they worry about bad financial consequences if the state doesn't expand Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul. Specifically, they worry hospitals will have to continue providing care for uninsured people even if the federal government stops reimbursing part of the expense (Pettus, 1/23).

Health News Florida: Senators Tackle Medicaid Economies
State Senate committee hearings tend to be long on detail, short on excitement. But Tuesday saw an impassioned debate between two high-profile health economists with opposite views on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The Select Senate Committee on PPACA heard dueling arguments from Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor Jonathan Gruber, who helped design a health plan in his state in 2006 that became the model for the 2010 federal law (Gentry, 1/24).

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Better Care Grounds Medicaid Frequent Flyers
Then everything changed almost overnight last April when [one patient] became one of the first patients in an "accountable care" program that aims to revolutionize Medicaid in Colorado. The new initiative could be one of the keys to Gov. John Hickenlooper's plan to cut Medicaid costs while simultaneously adding about 160,000 new low-income patients. Earlier this month, Hickenlooper announced that Colorado plans to expand Medicaid. The governor projected that Medicaid expansion would cost $128 million over 10 years, but vowed to save as much as $280 million through cuts and more efficient care (Kerwin McCrimmon, 1/23).

California Healthline: Health Care Stakeholders Await State Of State, Special Session
The State of the State speech today by Gov. Jerry Brown (D) could kick off a flurry of health care activity in California. The governor is expected to address the state's decision to join the Medicaid expansion (Medi-Cal in California) in today's speech. Two options proposed by Brown -- county- and state-based plans -- will be hashed out in the upcoming month or two, most likely during the Legislature's special session on health care. State health officials have said the special session will be called by Brown by the end of January (Gorn, 1/24).

If governors reject the expansion, it could leave some U.S. citizens in those states without coverage while some legal immigrants get it --

The Associated Press: Immigration Fallout From Saying No To 'Obamacare'
Governors who reject health insurance for the poor under the federal health care overhaul could wind up in a politically awkward position on immigration: A quirk in the law means some U.S. citizens would be forced to go without coverage, while legal immigrants residing in the same state could still get it (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/23).

And a poll finds wide support among voters in key states for the Medicaid expansion --

The Hill: Poll Finds Broad Support For Medicaid Expansion
Registered voters in seven states want their governors to participate in the Medicaid expansion under President Obama's health care law, according to polling released Wednesday by the American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network (ACS CAN). The survey found majority support for the Medicaid expansion in each of the seven states surveyed, some of which are on the fence about the expansion (Baker, 1/23).

Medpage Today: ACS Poll Shows Support For Medicaid Expansion
Voters by large margins in seven key states supported expanding Medicaid programs as provided for under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to a poll conducted by the American Cancer Society (ACS) Cancer Action Network. Registered voters in Florida, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, and New Mexico -- states that are all still deciding whether to expand their Medicaid programs under the ACA -- supported expansion by margins ranging from 38 percent to 49 percent, the ACS said Wednesday. Voters in Texas -- a very conservative state with a governor already against expansion -- supported the move 58 percent to 30 percent (Pittman, 1/23).

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