KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Alabama, S.D. Governors Defend Decisions Not To Expand Medicaid

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, a physician, began the state legislative session by presenting better education and jobs as the best strategies to help residents escape poverty. South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard, meanwhile, said his goal is to seek federal approval to cover only South Dakotans earning below 100 percent of the federal poverty line — $10,890 per year for a single person.

The Associated Press: Bentley Defends Decision Not To Expand Medicaid
Gov. Robert Bentley began the election-year session of the Alabama Legislature by defending his decision not to expand the state Medicaid program and by presenting better education and more jobs as the best strategy for escaping poverty. In his State of the State speech Tuesday night, the Republican governor acknowledged that Alabama is one of the poorest states in America, with one in four children living in poverty. ... Bentley is a physician, but like other Republican governors in the South, he chose not to expand Alabama's Medicaid program under the federal health care law (Barrow and Rawls, 1/14).

Sioux Falls Argus Leader: [S.D.] Governor Weighs Medicaid Options But Urges Patience
Gov. Dennis Daugaard is looking for alternative ways for South Dakota to expand Medicaid under the federal Affordable Care Act, instead of the full expansion he’s said no to so far. But he’s not looking very quickly. While states such as Arkansas and Iowa have negotiated deals with the federal government to pursue flexible approaches to Medicaid expansion, Daugaard hasn’t shown the same urgency. ... Daugaard’s goal is to get approval to cover only South Dakotans earning below 100 percent of the federal poverty line — $10,890 per year for a single person, or $22,350 for a family of four. The federal health care law calls for states to expand Medicaid up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line. That’s $15,282 for a single person or $31,322 for a family of four (Montgomery 1/15).

Meanwhile, low-income Ohioans who applied through healthcare.gov for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program are being told they must reapply through the state.

Columbus Dispatch: Thought Healthcare.gov Signed You Up For Medicaid? Better Think Again
Tens of thousands of low-income Ohioans who applied through HealthCare.gov for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program are being told they must reapply for that insurance coverage through the state. Turns out that applicants who used the federal enrollment website and were told they qualified for the tax-funded coverage actually were not signed up because of lingering computer problems, according to federal and state officials (Candisky, 1/14).

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