KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

CMS Examines Interaction Between Medicaid And Health Insurance Exchanges

Also in the news, developments on Medicaid expansion from Arizona, Ohio and Iowa.

CQ HealthBeat: At MACPAC, Discussion Of Interaction Between Medicaid And Exchanges
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has put out most of the rules to implement coverage changes under the health care law, but a top official said Thursday that the public should expect more guidance on such issues as outreach and the enrollment of lawmakers and their staffs into the new marketplaces that will start accepting people in October. Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, the deputy director for policy and regulations at the CMS Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, offered few new details in her wide-ranging remarks to the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (Adams, 5/16).

The Associated Press: Arizona Senate Passes Budget With Medicaid
The Republican-controlled Arizona Senate on Thursday passed an $8.8 billion state budget that embraces a signature part of President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, with a handful of Republican members teaming up with Democrats to push through Gov. Jan Brewer's top priority of the session. The Medicaid expansion proposal will add 300,000 Arizonans earning between 100 percent and 138 percent of the federal poverty level to the current 1.2 million people now on the state's insurance plan for the poor (Christie, 5/16).

Arizona Republic: Arizona Senate Backs Medicaid Expansion
The Arizona Senate on Thursday approved expanding the state’s Medicaid program, capping a rancorous debate that had split the Republican Party and had been building since January, when Gov. Jan Brewer issued a surprise call to increase Arizona’s health care program for the poor. A handful of Senate Republicans teamed with Democrats to approve the fiscal 2014 budget plan and overcome a flood of amendments intended to scuttle Medicaid expansion, pushing through the governor’s top legislative priority on a 19-11 vote after three hours of debate (Pitzl and Reinhardt, 5/16).

Columbus Dispatch: Legislators Mull Medicaid Changes Rather Than Expansion 
Ohio Medicaid recipients could face time limits and work requirements under alternatives being discussed in the legislature to Gov. John Kasich’s proposed expansion of tax-funded health care for the poor and disabled. Republican leaders also are considering taking thousands of pregnant women, disabled workers and children off the Medicaid rolls and putting them into yet-to-be-established health exchanges (Candisky and Siegel, 5/17).

Des Moines Register: Medicaid Proposal Too Bitter A Pill For 27 States
Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad isn’t alone in scorning the Obama administration’s prescription for government health coverage for those who can’t afford private insurance, and he’s not alone in seeking another way to cover some of them. Iowa is one of the last states to decide, for this year, what to do about the hefty sums of federal money at stake for enlarging the pool of poor people eligible for Medicaid. More than half of the states have decided against a deal that the White House had thought they couldn’t refuse (Jacobs, 5/17).

Meanwhile, here's the latest on on the health exchange front in Colorado and California -

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): New Health Insurance Era Dawns With 19 Companies Competing
Coloradans hunting for health insurance will have 19 companies competing for their business with up to 1,000 different plans that could be offered through the state’s new health exchange and on the open market. Starting in 2014, for the first time, insurance companies selling to individuals won’t be able to exclude people with pre-existing health conditions. That’s one of the reasons consumers and competitors are eagerly awaiting plan details and costs, which Colorado authorities plan to unveil Wednesday. For now, Colorados Commissioner of Insurance Jim Riesberg says he’s pleasantly surprised that 19 health insurance companies want to vie for business here (Kerwin McCrimmon, 5/16).

California Healthline: How Exchange Hopes To Reach Enrollees
Covered California exchange officials on Tuesday awarded $37 million in outreach grants to 48 community-based organizations. Those groups all have a wide reach, and represent a much bigger bloc of community organizations, according to Peter Lee, executive director of the California Health Benefit Exchange, now known as Covered California. … Lee said applicants were encouraged to aim high, because the exchange wants to reach as many people as possible and so much of the target market -- a multi-cultural, low-income and multilingual population -- is difficult to reach (Gorn, 5/16).

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