KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

States Debate Health Law’s Medicaid Expansion, Push For Special Deals

Coverage includes reports from Maine, Wisconsin, Indiana, Kansas, New Hampshire and Texas.

The Associated Press: Maine Gov. LePage Asks 10-Year Guarantee On Medicaid Expansion
The LePage administration is asking the federal government to pick up 100 percent of Maine's costs of expanding Medicaid for 10 years, if Maine is to agree to the expansion through the national health insurance law (Adams, 3/20).

The Associated Press: Democrats Speak Out Against Wis. Medicaid Changes
Gov. Scott Walker's plan to reject federally funded Medicaid expansion and instead tighten income eligibility for the program to move more people near the poverty line into private insurance drew criticism from Democrats and even one Republican on the Legislature's budget committee Wednesday. Walker's Medicaid plan is the centerpiece of his health care proposals, which were discussed by the Legislature's Republican-controlled Joint Finance Committee during the second of four days of budget briefings (3/21).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Legislature's Budget Panel Appears To Back Scott Walker's Health Program Plan
Gov. Scott Walker's plan to avoid a federally funded expansion of the state's BadgerCare Plus health programs prompted pointed questions Wednesday from Democrats and one Republican on the Legislature's budget committee but still appeared to have solid support on the GOP-controlled panel (Stein, 3/20).

The Associated Press: Healthy Indiana Plan Gets Mixed Reviews At Hearing
Hospital officials praised Indiana's medical savings accounts but some consumer advocates panned them Wednesday during a public hearing as Gov. Mike Pence seeks federal approval to use the Healthy Indiana Plan to expand Medicaid in this state. The Indiana Hospital Association and representatives of hospitals in Indianapolis, Lake County and rural Rush County testified HIP would achieve the Medicaid expansion under the federal health care overhaul and reduce the amount of indigent care they must provide to uninsured patients (Kusmer, 3/20).

The Associated Press: Kan. House OKs Budget, Senate Advances Own Plan
Kansas senators gave first-round approval Wednesday to their version of the next state budget, including language that would require legislative approval before the state could expand Medicaid coverage. The bill, which would spend $14 billion in each of the next two fiscal years, was debated for more than five hours (Milburn, 3/20).

The Associated Press: N.H. House Kills Ban On Medicaid Expansion
The N.H. House rejected a bill Wednesday that would have prevented the state from expanding Medicaid under the federal health-care law. The Democrat-controlled House voted 206-155 largely along party lines to kill former House Speaker William O'Brien's bill to ban the expansion supported by Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan (Love, 3/21).

The Texas Tribune: Medicaid Expansion Sparks Debate Over Asset Tests
Gov. Rick Perry said last week that any Medicaid overhaul in Texas should include so-called asset testing, "to ensure care is there for those who really need it most." With lawmakers eyeing a Medicaid expansion, such testing is stirring debate (Philpott, 3/21).

The Texas Tribune: TPPF Presents Plan To Reform Medicaid With Block Grant
In a report released Wednesday, the Texas Public Policy Foundation detailed how Texas could use a federal block grant to cut costs and fundamentally reform Medicaid, the state’s health program for the poor, without expansion (Aaronson, 3/20).

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