KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medicaid Expansion Efforts Facing Challenges From Healthcare.gov

The Washington Post and Kaiser Health News report that some people who would be eligible for this coverage may be falling through the cracks. Meanwhile, Bloomberg examines how accessing health care plays out differently in states that pursued the expansion and those that didn't, and a look at the difficult issue of people moving between Medicaid and private insurance.   

The Washington Post: HealthCare.gov Defects Leave Many Americans Eligible For Medicaid, CHIP Without Coverage
More than 100,000 Americans who applied for insurance through HealthCare.gov and were told they are eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) remain unenrolled because of lingering software defects in the federal online marketplace, according to federal and state health officials. To try to provide coverage to these people before they seek medical care, the Obama administration has launched a barrage of phone calls in recent days in 21 states, advising those who applied that the quickest route into the programs is to start over at their state’s Medicaid agency (Goldstein and Eilperin, 1/4).

Kaiser Health News: Thousands Waiting For Medicaid Coverage Are Stuck In Limbo
For years, Obama administration officials talked about how the health law’s online marketplaces would offer a seamless shopping experience for consumers looking for health coverage. But that’s turned out to be an empty promise for many low-income people who went to healthcare.gov, the federal enrollment portal, and were deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (Galewitz, 1/6).

Bloomberg: Obamacare Medicaid Split Creates Two Americas For Poor
Amber Sanchez, a San Francisco cancer survivor, skipped visiting the gynecologist last year to check a growth on her ovary because she was uninsured. This year, it's at the top of her New Year's plans. … The women's fates are the consequence of a political debate that's divided the U.S. roughly along party lines: Democratic-led states have expanded Medicaid programs for the poor under the health law; most Republicans have refused. While the law's online exchanges draw more scrutiny, it's Medicaid that may determine the health of millions of Americans (Nussbaum, Vekshin and Douban, 1/6).

Kaiser Health News: Millions Of Lower-Income People Expected To Shift Between Exchanges And Medicaid
While government officials have spent months scrambling to fix the federal health law's botched rollout, another issue is looming that could create new headaches for states, health plans – and patients. In 2014, millions of people are expected to shift between the health exchanges and Medicaid, as their income fluctuates over the year. That could be costly for states and insurance companies, and patients could wind up having gaps in coverage or having to switch health plans or doctors (Bergal, 1/5).

Also in the news, reports from Missouri and Idaho -

Idaho Statesman: Stuck In The Medicaid Gap In Idaho
Amy Workman and her 12-year-old son spent the holidays stuffing their Coeur d’Alene home into a moving truck. They gave away some furniture. They gave a neighbor their Christmas tree. A few days after Christmas, the mother of three and her youngest son hit the road for Oregon. They headed west in search of health insurance. Workman is one of the estimated 54,780 adults in Idaho who fall into the so-called Medicaid gap — a health insurance no-man’s-land being created this year in Idaho and 24 other states where lawmakers decided not to expand Medicaid programs (Dutton, 1/5).

The Associated Press: Prospects Remain Slim For Mo. Medicaid Expansion
Medicaid expansion remains a priority for Gov. Jay Nixon as Missouri lawmakers open their annual legislative session this week. Yet the prospects of that occurring appear slim. Like last year, Missouri's Democratic governor and Republican legislative leaders are entering the session with a wide rhetorical and ideological gap on the question of whether Missouri should expand Medicaid eligibility to thousands of lower-income adults (Lieb, 1/5).

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