KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medicaid Expansion ‘Private Option’ Plans Drawing Increasing Concern From Advocates

Stateline reports that backers of the health law and the expansion increasingly are worried that alternative approaches being developed by some states could undermine the Medicaid program.  

Stateline: 'Private Option' For Medicaid Expansion Would Cut Some Benefits
When Arkansas won federal approval to use Medicaid expansion dollars to help low-income people purchase private health insurance, officials on both sides of the aisle applauded the compromise. For supporters of the Affordable Care Act, it meant coverage for the millions of uninsured Americans who live in states that have resisted Medicaid expansion under the ACA. For governors and lawmakers opposed to the law, it was a politically feasible way to accept billions in federal dollars and improve the overall health of their residents without embracing "Obamacare." Now, as more states craft their own versions of what is known as the "private option" – and Arkansas seeks revisions to its original plan – advocates are increasingly concerned that the private market approach to Medicaid expansion could erode the effectiveness of the Medicaid program (Vestal, 3/27).

In other Medicaid expansion news -

Modern Healthcare: New Medicaid Beneficiaries Healthier Than Those In Program Before ACA 
Beneficiaries who joined Medicaid as the result of expansion under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are healthier than people who were part of the program before the law went into effect, according to a study appearing next month in Health Affairs. The findings also hold true for consumers living in states not expanding Medicaid to people with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level under the ACA. Adults in the income range for the law's Medicaid expansion were healthier than pre-ACA enrollees, researchers found. To reach these findings, the authors used simulation methods and data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (Dickson, 3/26).

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