KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Va. Lawmakers Head Back To Richmond On Medicaid Expansion

Vice President Joseph Biden believes that GOP officials in every state will have to accept the expansion. And Florida's Sen. Bill Nelson, a Democrat, said he's talked with federal officials about a plan to go around the GOP-controlled state legislature.

The Washington Post: Virginia Lawmakers Return To Richmond To Try To Break Impasse Over Medicaid Expansion
Virginia’s pitched battle over Medicaid expansion returns to the Capitol on Monday with no indication that Gov. Terry McAuliffe is any closer to a deal on his top priority. Two weeks after an impasse over Medicaid prevented passage of a two-year, $96 billion budget, the legislature is coming back to Richmond to try again in a special session (Vozzella, 3/22).

The New York Times: Virginia Governor Finds Jollity Is No Guarantee Against Gridlock
The sticking point forcing the special session is Mr. McAuliffe’s desire to expand Medicaid to up to 400,000 of Virginia’s poor and disabled under the Affordable Care Act. The proposal was a centerpiece of his campaign last year and his top priority in office, ... His opponents are just as dug in, noting that in the three weeks since Republicans defeated expansion in a test vote in the House, 67 to 32, there have been no defections on their side (Gabriel, 3/23).

The Washington Post: Biden: GOP Governors Will Eventually Take Medicaid Expansion
Vice President Biden predicted Friday that Republican governors who have declined the federal Medicaid expansion will eventually be forced to reverse course and take the expansion because of political pressure. Speaking to the National Association of Community Health Centers in Washington, Biden criticized the GOP governors who have declined the extra funding but said he expects them to come around. "I'm convinced, as a practitioner of the so-called art of politics, that they ... will not be able to sustain the heat," Biden said. (Blake, 3/21).

The Hill: GOP Governor: Medicaid Expansion Is A Conservative Ideal
Ohio GOP Gov. John Kasich is defending his decision to expand Medicaid in the state, saying the move is a logical reflection of conservative values. ... Kasich's assessment [on Fox News Sunday] runs starkly counter to that coming from many conservatives – including many members of Ohio's Republican legislature – who characterize ObamaCare's broad Medicaid expansion as a case of big-government overreach ... Adopting a Democratic line, [Kasich] emphasized that the expansion of the low-income health insurance program will bring billions of dollars to Ohio while benefiting some of the state's most vulnerable people (Billis, 3/23).

The Washington Post: Florida Senator's Secret Medicaid Expansion Plan Won’t Work
Florida is one of 24 states that hasn't joined Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, which would cover about 1.3 million uninsured adults in the state and bring in about $51 billion in federal funds over the next decade. Only Texas stands to benefit more from the Medicaid expansion. Florida Sen. Bill Nelson said he's talking with federal health officials on a plan to go around the state legislature, which strongly opposes expanding Medicaid. But federal officials say their hands are tied (Millman, 3/21).

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