KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Texas Lawmakers Pass Bill To Stop Medicaid Expansion; Ariz. Debate Heats Up

The Republican-controlled Texas Legislature makes changes to a bill so that the state bans expansion under the Affordable Care Act but doesn't violate current Medicaid law. In Arizona, meanwhile, Gov. Jan Brewer vetoes five bills to prod lawmakers to expand the program and pass a budget.

Reuters: Texas Legislature Passes Measure To Prevent Medicaid Expansion
The Republican-majority Texas House and Senate on Sunday sent Governor Rick Perry a proposal to prevent the state from expanding its Medicaid program as outlined by President Barack Obama's healthcare reform law. Perry, a Republican, notified the Obama administration last summer his state would not expand Medicaid, which provides healthcare for low-income people. He repeated his opposition in an April news conference at which he called expansion "foolish" (MacLaggan, 5/27).

Austin American Statesman: Medicaid Expansion Ban Survives, Sent To Perry
The Legislature approved a pair of Medicaid reform bills Sunday to target fraud, redesign long-term care for elderly and disabled Texans and ensure that Texas does not participate in Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act. A conference committee on Senate Bill 7 kept an amendment by Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, that banned Medicaid expansion, though it was rewritten to address concerns that the original language threatened billions of dollars by putting Texas out of compliance with federal Medicaid regulations (Lindell, 5/26).

Arizona Republic: Threats, Vetoes Fly As Tensions Rise Over Medicaid Expansion
Gov. Jan Brewer sent five bills to the scrap heap Thursday in a pointed gesture intended to prod lawmakers into a deal on the budget and her plan to expand Medicaid. The five vetoes, follow-through on Brewer’s promise to block legislation until her top priorities move forward, capped a tense day that saw some lawmakers receive threats over their support for the plan to provide health care for more of the state’s poor. In letters explaining her actions, Brewer revealed a growing impatience with the Legislature, which she noted has been in session for 130 days and has only five weeks until the constitutional deadline for a fiscal 2014 budget (Pitzl, 5/24).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Ariz. Dept. Of Public Safety Investigating Threatening Email Sent To 9 Lawmakers Over Medicaid
Arizona's bitter debate over a signature part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul has sparked an investigation into lawmakers' safety after at least nine legislators received a threatening email over Gov. Jan Brewer's push to expand Medicaid access. The message asked the lawmakers to "kill" the plan and referred to Second Amendment rights, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety (5/24).

CQ HealthBeat: On Medicaid: Eyes On Arizona
Arizona Republican Gov. Jan Brewer is pressuring Republicans in the state's House as that chamber considers whether to go along with her Senate-endorsed plan to broaden Medicaid. Brewer has promised to veto bills until state legislators send her the state budget and her proposal to expand Medicaid, as called for in the health care law. She followed through Thursday by vetoing five bills (Adams, 5/24).

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