Tactical Decision To Link Medicaid Expansion To Cigarette Tax May Have Tanked Montana Ballot Initiative
Supporters thought that strategy would boost their effort with voters, but it attracted Big Tobacco into the fight. As more people look to the success of the three states who were successful in expanding Medicaid through ballot initiatives, the strategy may offer lessons for 2020. Meanwhile, since work requirements were added to Arkansas' Medicaid program earlier this year, more than 17,000 beneficiaries have lost coverage.
Lone Medicaid Expansion Defeat Offers Lessons For Other States
Montana was one of four red states with Medicaid expansion on the ballot, and the only one where it failed. And the reason why, many close observers both inside and outside of the state agree, almost certainly came down to a tactical decision to link expansion to an increase in the state’s tobacco tax. Supporters thought that strategy would boost their effort with voters, but it attracted Big Tobacco into the fight, along with the $17.2 million it spent, much of it on a television advertising blitz. Opponents raised nearly $19 million to defeat the measure, finance reports filed with the state show. (Ollove, 12/17)
Despite Uncertainty After Court Ruling, Medicaid Expansion Likely To Proceed
The three red states — Idaho, Nebraska and Utah — that bucked their own Republican legislatures last month and approved Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act are likely to proceed, despite Friday’s ruling by a federal judge in Texas that the entire federal health care law is unconstitutional. Even in Montana, where voters last month defeated an extension of the temporary Medicaid expansion approved in 2015, legislative leaders predict that lawmakers will make the expansion permanent, since it is politically unpopular to take coverage away from people once it has been extended. (Vestal, 12/18)
Almost 17K Arkansans Have Lost Medicaid Coverage Due To Work Requirements
Nearly 17,000 people have lost Medicaid coverage in Arkansas because they did not comply with the state’s work requirements, according to new state data released Monday. Arkansas began phasing in work requirements for Medicaid beneficiaries in August. In the first three months the requirements have been in effect, more than 12,000 people were removed from Medicaid. (Weixel, 12/17)