KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Utah Lawmakers Approve Modest Medicaid Expansion

The compromise bill would provide Medicaid coverage for 16,000 of the state's poorest residents. Democrats had tried to get the program expanded to 105,000 people. Also, New Hampshire's House approves reauthorizing that state's Medicaid expansion plan, and Montana gets more enrollees than expected.

Salt Lake Tribune: Long Fight Over: Small-Scale Medicaid Expansion Wins Final Approval
Ending years of fighting, the Senate gave final approval Tuesday to a compromise bill expanding Medicaid coverage to 16,000 of the poorest Utahns — while Democrats complained that it is "less than crumbs" compared to what the state should be giving. It passed HB437 on a 19-8 vote, and is on its way to Gov. Gary Herbert for his expected signature. (Davidson, 3/8)

Deseret News: Utah Democrats Upset Over Medicaid, Vow To Continue To Push For Full Expansion
A bill that would expand Medicaid to every Utahn who needs it died Wednesday, without the votes to pass, according to its sponsor. "It's not anger, it's frustration that we're voicing," said Sen. Gene Davis, D-Salt Lake City. Davis' bill, SB77, aimed to expand Medicaid to more than 105,000 uninsured Utahns. "We could have done more," he said. Alternatively, lawmakers Tuesday voted to finalize a plan that takes care of the poorest of the poor and imposes new taxes to help cover the costs. (Leonard, 3/9)

New Hampshire Public Radio: N.H. Medicaid Expansion Overwhelmingly Passes Republican-Backed House
The House voted 216 to 145 to reauthorize Medicaid expansion for another two years. The bill now heads to the Senate. But that was after much debate on the floor Wednesday – more than two hours of it. This issue crossed party lines with the Republicans who supported the bill stressing to their colleagues on the right that this bill does not use state dollars but rather saves it. As the bill is written, the state's insurance premium tax as well as hospitals and insurance companies have agreed to pick up the tab the federal government will no longer be paying in 2017. (Sutherland, 3/10)

The Concord Monitor: House Passes Medicaid Expansion, Voter Residency Requirements
The Republican-led House overwhelmingly approved a bill Wednesday to extend the state’s Medicaid expansion program, which provides subsidized health insurance to more than 48,000 low-income residents. The vote, 216-145, was a big victory for program supporters. The House has long been viewed as the bill’s biggest hurdle, and debate divided the chamber’s Republican members, who are split on the program’s merits. (Morris, 3/9)

KPAX (Missoula, Mt.)/MTN: Medicaid Expansion Sign-Ups Surging Past Expectations
The number of low-income Montanans signing up for expanded Medicaid health coverage is surging past initial predictions, a legislative report shows. The report says as of this month, 36,320 people have signed up for the new government-funded coverage – already more than the Bullock administration estimated would sign up through mid-2017. Rep. Art Wittich (R-Bozeman) -- an opponent of Medicaid expansion -- said Wednesday that no one should be surprised that “people will over-utilize free stuff.” ... But Heather O’Laughlin, co-director of the Montana Budget and Policy Center, a supporter of the expansion, said the brisk clip of sign-ups for coverage is something to celebrate. (Dennison, 3/9)

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