KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States And The Health Law: Action On Insurance Exchanges, Medicaid Expansion

The Associated Press and other news outlets report on state action on the health law's insurance exchanges as well as the Medicaid expansion.

The Associated Press: New Health Insurance Market Opens In Washington State In October
Another aspect of President Barack Obama's health care law will go from concept to reality this fall as Washington state residents who don't have health insurance will become eligible for Medicaid or gain access to a new insurance exchange. Some questions and answers on where the health care law stands in Washington state (Blankinship, 1/29).

MPR News: MN Insurance Exchange Info Website Launches
The state budget office has launched a website about how a health insurance exchange will work in Minnesota. Officials project at least 1 million Minnesotans will use the exchange to comparison shop for health insurance policies or enroll in Medicaid starting in October. Until now it's been difficult to find complete information about this key part of the federal health care law. State Budget Commissioner Jim Schowalter said the site is a work in progress. "What it does right now is give people a simple take on what the exchange can do for them; what some of the costs might be with the calculator; a nice little video to help explain what the exchange does; and ultimately, add ability for people to get insurance come next October," Schowalter said (Stawicki, 1/29).

The Associated Press: Q&A: Taking Look At Georgia's New Health Care Fundamentals
The 2010 federal health insurance overhaul, commonly called the Affordable Care Act, expands access to health insurance in two major ways. The first is through insurance exchanges where individuals can shop for policies from private insurance firms. Secondly, the law gives states the option to expand the Medicaid insurance program that provides coverage to low-income Americans (Barrow, 1/30).

The Associated Press: Uninsured Children Expected To Grow Medicaid Rolls
The analyst hired by the state to estimate the impact of the federal health care law told Indiana lawmakers Tuesday that an unintended consequence could unearth tens of thousands of children who qualify for Medicaid but are not enrolled. Rob Damler, an actuary for Milliman Inc. in Indianapolis, told members of the House Ways and Means Committee that residents are expected to grow the state's rolls in the coming years as the individual mandate forces low-income residents into federal coverage (LoBianco, 1/29).

Health News Florida: Sen. Garcia Now Open To Medicaid Expansion
When Florida sued to overturn the Affordable Care Act, lawmakers targeted a piece of the law that would have forced Florida to make Medicaid available to more than a million uninsured Floridians. The U. S. Supreme Court upheld most of the act, but it made Medicaid expansion optional (Mack, 1/29).

The Miami Herald: Study: Medicaid Expansion May Save State Money
Florida would save money over the next decade — not lose billions as Gov. Rick Scott has argued — by accepting Medicaid expansion under federal healthcare reforms, according to a detailed economic study. Miami-Dade legislators and healthcare industry leaders, getting together on Monday, heard about the report by Georgetown University — the most positive yet on a highly debated provision of what is often called Obamacare (Dorschner, 1/29).

The Associated Press: Democratic Lawmakers Seek To Increase Iowa Medicaid
A push that Democratic lawmakers initiated Tuesday to expand Medicaid in Iowa would likely translate into new or improved health benefits for thousands of the state’s low-income residents. Broadening the program could mean that people like Terri White, a 51-year-old widow from Fort Dodge, would for the first time have comprehensive health insurance (Lucey, 1/30).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Could Boost Mississippi Health Jobs
Republican Gov. Phil Bryant wants to create more health care jobs in Mississippi, one of the poorest and most medically under-served states in the nation. He also opposes putting more Mississippi residents on Medicaid under the federal health care law that Democratic President Barack Obama signed in 2010, even with the federal government paying most of the cost (Pettus, 1/29).

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