Study Finds Hospitals In Medicaid Expansion States Are Better Off
Hospitals lose less money on charity care when the states have expanded the health coverage for low-income residents. Also, news outlets look at developments in the Medicaid debates in Kansas, Maine, Louisiana and Arkansas.
Studies: Hospitals Fare Better In States That Expand Medicaid
In states that expanded eligibility for Medicaid, hospitals that handle large numbers of low-income patients are faring better under the Affordable Care Act than those in states that haven't, according to two new reports released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation. (Pugh, 4/30)
Expanding Medicaid Trims Hospitals' Costs Of Caring For Uninsured
When patients show up in the hospital without health insurance, they often receive charity care — the hospital treats the person and then swallows some or all of the costs. ... Hospitals are able to recoup some of the costs of this care, but it can still put a financial strain on some systems. One of the goals of the Affordable Care Act was to reduce the burden of charity care, which totaled nearly $85 billion in 2013. A new study by the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation suggests that Medicaid — a government health insurance program that covers many people who don't make much money — might be doing just that. (Kelto, 4/30)
Catholic Bishops Endorse Medicaid Expansion In Kansas
Catholic bishops in Kansas are calling on lawmakers to expand Medicaid. Expanding the program would provide health coverage for 130,000 low-income Kansans who are uninsured now, a statement from the bishops said Thursday. “We, the Catholic Bishops of Kansas, support expanding Medicaid to cover these individuals,” the statement reads. “Indeed, many of our brothers and sisters who cannot currently afford health insurance would gain access to it, bringing an end to the uncertainty and fear that the uninsured of our society must live with daily.” (Lowry, 4/30)
Maine Public Radio:
Medicaid Expansion Proponents Make Their Case To Maine Lawmakers - Again
Maine's Health and Human Services Committee is considering several bills that would expand Medicaid coverage under the Affordable Care Act. From flat-out expansion, to various compromises, to putting the issue to referendum, they're the latest attempts in a now-annual battle to extend insurance coverage to about 20,000 low-income Mainers. ... Proponents of expansion ranged from uninsured Mainers, to a sheriff lamenting the need for coverage for mental health and substance abuse services, to providers, like Dr. Amy Madden of Belgrade. (Wight, 4/30)
New Orleans Times-Picayune:
Medicaid Expansion Hope Fades: Review The Arguments For And Against It
The Louisiana Legislature once again refused measures to expand Medicaid, a component of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul that would provide coverage for 290,000 Louisianans without insurance. ... with Gov. Bobby Jindal's commitment to squash expansion, anyway, many Republican lawmakers who may have considered accepting the federal dollars decided to put off expansion of the program until a governor who's open to the idea takes office, [expansion supporter Rep. John Bel] Edwards said. The issue is seen as highly partisan -- some Republicans do not want to risk casting a vote some might view as aligning them with the Affordable Heath Care Act. (Lane, 5/1)
Arkansas Legislator Looks Beyond The 'Private Option'
A 40-year old state lawmaker, the architect of Arkansas’s “private option,” is plotting the transformation of American health care in a cramped, windowless office here in the State Capitol. In a series of interviews with POLITICO, David Sanders tries to set the record straight about the future of the state’s unique Medicaid expansion. His short answer: It will live on beyond its sunset in 2016 as part of a broader Medicaid overhaul, even though many of his fellow Republicans claimed their vote a few months ago on the program served the purpose of shutting it down in less than two years. (Wheaton and Pradhana, 4/30)
Also in local health news, Colorado is getting a new chief for its health insurance marketplace.
Health News Colorado:
New Exchange CEO Prepares For ‘Turnaround’
When Kevin Patterson saw Colorado’s health exchange board floundering earlier this month as their only CEO finalist backed out and the search for a new leader was failing, he decided he might be able to provide some answers. ... Currently [Gov. John] Hickenlooper’s chief administrative officer, Patterson will wrap up that job and take over as interim CEO at the exchange on May 8. He’s clear on his mission. “It’s a turnaround. We’ve got to make sure we’re going in the right direction,” Patterson said. “We can do this, but it’s going to be hard work.” (Kerwin McCrimmon, 4/30)