KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Utah Gov. Rejects Full Medicaid Expansion, Opts Instead For ‘Private’ Plan

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert unveiled a proposal that would use federal money to help qualifying state residents buy private health insurance and would, he said, keep the state in control of the program. In Virginia, the political back-and-forth over expanding the program continues.    

Salt Lake Tribune: Medicaid Plans Divide Utah GOP
After months of anticipation, Gov. Gary Herbert released a proposal Thursday to use federal money to help 111,000 low-income Utahns buy private health coverage, saying the state has a "moral obligation" to its citizens. ... It is not, Herbert said, an expansion of Medicaid, but a three-year, Utah-run pilot program that "will not only help us meet our moral responsibility to care for the poorest among us … but it will do it in a way that will keep the state in control" (Gerhke and Steward, 2/27).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Utah Governor Rejects Full Medicaid Expansion
Utah’s Republican governor announced Thursday he wants to reject a full Medicaid expansion that would enroll more people in the government program, and instead seek federal dollars to cover the poor in private plans. Gov. Gary Herbert’s decision came after months of pushing back an announcement, making him one of the last governors in the country to announce his intentions about expanding Medicaid (2/27).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Senate Democrats Offer Medicaid Audit
Senate Democrats have offered a four-year audit of Virginia’s Medicaid program as a compromise to extend health insurance coverage to hundreds of thousands of uninsured Virginians. However, they also drew a line in the sand by insisting on a commercial insurance marketplace in the two-year state budget as an alternative to straight expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. “We are here as long as it takes,” warned Sen. Donald A. McEachin, D-Henrico, chairman of the Senate Democratic Caucus, in a news conference at the Capitol on Thursday (Martz, 2/27). 

The Richmond Times-Dispatch: On WRVA, McAuliffe Prods Lawmakers On Medicaid Expansion
Gov. Terry McAuliffe spent a significant slice of his monthly radio show on WRVA in Richmond Thursday making the case for the state to accept federal money available to the commonwealth for the expansion of Medicaid. McAuliffe made the economic argument -- Virginia is losing $5 million a day and $270 million to date -- by failing to recover the taxes it has paid to Washington under the Affordable Care Act and accept federal money that closes the coverage gap for up to 400,000 residents. “All we're trying to do is bring it back,” he told host Jimmy Barrett (Nolan, 2/27).

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