KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States And The Medicaid Expansion: This Year’s Big Choice

One of the biggest decisions governors and legislatures will wrestle with in 2013 is whether to pursue the health law's Medicaid expansion.

The Associated Press: Money Fears Vs. Real Benefits In Medicaid Choice
President Barack Obama thinks his health care law makes states an offer they can't refuse. Whether to expand Medicaid, the federal-state program for the poor and disabled, could be the most important decision facing governors and legislatures this year. The repercussions go beyond their budgets, directly affecting the well-being of residents and the finances of critical hospitals (Alonso-Zaldivar, 1/29).

Los Angeles Times: Legislation Proposed To Help California Launch Healthcare Overhaul
The state Legislature gaveled in a special session on healthcare Monday, pushing forward with sweeping proposals to help California implement President Obama's healthcare overhaul. The measures, including a major expansion of Medi-Cal, the state's public insurance program for the poor, would cement the state's status as the nation's earliest and most aggressive adopter of the federal Affordable Care Act. ... State lawmakers are racing to pass rules for enrollment in a new state-run insurance market in October (Mishak, 1/29).

Sacramento Bee: California Lawmakers Move To Expand Medi-Cal Eligibility
More than 1 million low-income Californians would become eligible for health care coverage through Medi-Cal under legislation proposed Monday by Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez. ... Pérez's proposal, Assembly Bill 1X-1, would provide coverage to single adults whose income is less than $15,400 per year, representing roughly 133 percent of the federal poverty level. ... If Pérez's bill is signed into law, the federal government would pay the tab for Medi-Cal's expansion for three years (Sanders, 1/29).

The Associated Press: Calif. Speaker Seeks To Expand Medi-Cal For Poor
At the same time, health care providers escalated their legal fight against the state's planned cuts to Medicaid reimbursement rates, saying any further reductions to the state's payments could keep patients from accessing vital care at a time when the state seeks to expand quality coverage for uninsured Californians (Williams and Burke, 1/28).

St. Louis Beacon: Nixon Uses State Of The State To Press For Medicaid Expansion, More Education Spending
Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon sought to confront Republican resistance to his proposed Medicaid expansion by promising in his State of the State address Monday night that he would support rolling back the expansion if the federal government cuts off the financial spigot to cover most of the costs. ... Nixon and his budget team say the expansion actually would save the state about $47 million in the coming fiscal year because of related provisions in the Affordable Care Act tied to the expansion (Mannies, 1/28).

The Associated Press: Mo. Gov. Backs Medicaid Expansion, Bonding Plan
The governor argued that the Medicaid expansion was a sound financial decision embraced by many of Missouri's leading business organizations, whom who he asked to stand. Again, Democratic lawmakers responded with an ovation while Republicans sat silently. "Friends, let's put the politics of health care aside for just a moment," Nixon said as some Republicans chuckled, "and look at this as a business decision for the state of Missouri" (Lieb, 1/28).

St. Louis Beacon: In GOP Response, Jones Rejects Medicaid Expansion, Calls On Nixon To Engage With Legislators
Claiming that Gov. Jay Nixon "articulated grand concepts" with "little detail" in his annual State of the State speech, House Speaker Tim Jones challenged the Missouri chief executive to work with the GOP-legislature "to find solutions" on the vexing issues of the day. ... Jones portrayed the Medicaid expansion as "a call that has come courtesy of Obamacare and Washington, D.C." and "a call the Republican-led legislature will not answer" (Rosenbaum, 1/28).

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