KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Facing Medicare Funding Cuts, Virginia Hospitals Push For Medicaid Expansion

Expanding the program for low-income residents would help bring new revenue to the hospitals. Meanwhile, supporters of Medicaid expansion offer a new proposal in Nebraska and a young man in Utah diagnosed with cancer faces treatment problems because he lost his Medicaid coverage.

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: High Stakes For Hospitals In Medicaid Fight
Bon Secours Virginia Health System faces $55.6 million in cuts in federal Medicare payments in the next two years. But the nonprofit health system, which operates four hospitals in the Richmond area and three in Hampton Roads, could more than offset those losses with an estimated $134.7 million in revenues if Virginia expands its Medicaid program. ... The stakes in the state political debate over Medicaid expansion are becoming starker for Virginia hospitals, which are counting on new revenue from patients who are now uninsured to offset cuts in Medicare reimbursements and subsidies for indigent care. The Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association has compiled estimates for 107 hospitals in the state (Martz, 1/16).

The Associated Press: Nebraska Lawmakers Unveil New Medicaid Plan
Nebraska would use the state Medicaid program and private health insurers to cover tens of thousands of uninsured, low-income residents, including those who have fallen into the so-called "coverage gap," under a new proposal unveiled Tuesday. Supporters of expanded Medicaid introduced the "Wellness in Nebraska Act" -- dubbed WIN -- as they prepared for another attempt to expand coverage under the federal health care law (1/15).

Salt Lake Tribune: Teen Battling Cancer Awaits Utah Medicaid Expansion
Within months of graduating from high school, landing an auto collision repair job and moving into his own apartment, Joshua Kahn was diagnosed with cancer. Hodgkin’s lymphoma is highly treatable and the chemotherapy started last fall was going well for the St. George teen. But on Dec. 1, Kahn turned 19 and was cut from Medicaid, putting a halt to his treatment. In Utah, adults who don't have children -- no matter how poor -- don’t qualify for the low-income health program unless they are disabled. Kahn’s mother, Julia Buckner, said her son’s situation highlights the injustice of Utah’s dithering over an optional expansion of Medicaid through the Affordable Care Act. ... The hospital has arranged a payment plan to allow Kahn to finish his first round of chemo. But without insurance he's unable to get a PET scan to determine whether he needs further treatment or radiation (Stewart, 1/15).

The Lund Report: Health Share Of Oregon Boasts 25,000 New Enrollees
Oregon's largest coordinated care organization expected to get 20,000 to 23,000 new members in the first year after the state's Medicaid expansion kicked in. Just days into the new year, chief operating officer Susan Kirchoff announced that it had already exceeded that projection (McCurdy, 1/8).

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