KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Some GOP Governors See Block Grant Opportunity In Medicaid Expansion

Politico reports that some conservatives who have long sought to convert Medicaid into a block grant program see an opening with the health law to move in this direction. Also in the news, states continue to mull how to proceed with this provision of the law.  

Politico: Obamacare Foes Using It For Medicaid Control
Conservatives who hate President Barack Obama's health law have been agitating to convert Medicaid into a no-strings-attached block grant for states since the Reagan era. That effort died -- or at least got put on indefinite hold -- with Obama's reelection. But red-state governors see another chance to ram through some of the changes they seek. Ironically, their opening was created by the health law's Medicaid expansion (Millman and Cheney, 4/7).

The Texas Tribune: The Medicaid Expansion Merry-Go-Round
Republicans who want to draw down billions in federal dollars to reform Medicaid and shore up the state's budget have been running in circles trying to find common ground between Gov. Rick Perry and the Obama administration and craft a "Texas solution." And the party-line vote in the House on Thursday to reconsider legislative guidance on Medicaid expansion from the budget -- even without an up-or-down vote on the substance -- left the issue on life support (Aaronson, 4/8).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Arkansas Wants To Privatize Its Medicaid Expansion: Is This The Start Of A Trend
How do you get recalcitrant Republicans like Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett to support expanding Medicaid, which is a key feature of Obamacare? The answer is to do it through privatization. That's the path Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe, a Democrat, is hoping to take. To convince the state's Republican-dominated legislature to expand Medicaid, he proposed offering coverage through private insurance companies. So far, Republican leaders in the state are going along (Field, 4/7).

Modern Healthcare: State Reform Update: Medicaid Expansion Moves Forward In Ark.
Arkansas' Medicaid expansion -- potentially a model for many other states -- has begun to advance in the legislature and supporters are optimistic about its prospects. The Arkansas Senate Public Health, Welfare and Labor Committee unanimously approved a Medicaid expansion plan Wednesday that would use federal Medicaid funds to buy coverage for beneficiaries on the coming federal health insurance exchange in the state. The legislation is based on a compromise between Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe and Republican leaders (Daly, 4/5).

The Washington Post: Health Care Law Could Backfire For Thousands On Medicaid
At a time when most states are preparing to expand their Medicaid programs in line with the new health-care law, tens of thousands of people in states with historically generous Medicaid coverage could soon be kicked off the rolls. In Wisconsin, officials want to take advantage of the law to shift nearly 100,000 low-income people from the health insurance program for the poor into subsidized private plans. ... An additional 180,000 people in five other states could lose coverage because they are in experimental versions of Medicaid that expire this year and may not be renewable under the new law (Aizenman, 4/6).

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