KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Will Embrace Of Medicaid Expansion Hurt Some GOP Presidential Hopefuls?

Some Republican governors said to have presidential aspirations, including Chris Christie of New Jersey and John Kasich of Ohio, have expanded the program in their own states, even as the party tries to unravel the law. Meanwhile, New Hampshire's Republican Senate blocked efforts to expand the program, Montana expansion advocates work to put the issue to voters and Maine's hiring of a conservative consultant to study the issue gets scrutiny.

The Washington Post: Expanding Medicaid Could Cloud Some Republicans' 2016 Hopes
Christie is one of just eight Republican governors to accept the expansion. He and Gov. John Kasich (R), of Ohio, are the only two who have both expanded Medicaid and who are said to harbor White House ambitions. Expanding Medicaid will make most adults who earn up to 138 percent of the federal poverty limit eligible for coverage. The federal government will cover 100 percent of the costs of the expansion for the first few years of the program, and 90 percent of the costs going forward (Wilson, 11/21).

The New York Times: Health Law Is Dividing Republican Governors
At the annual meeting here of the nation's Republican governors, the ones who are eyeing presidential runs in 2016 say they oppose the health care law. But there is sharp disagreement among those who have helped carry out the law and those who remain entrenched in their opposition (Martin, 11/21).

The Wall Street Journal's Washington Wire: Some GOP Governors Embrace Medicaid Expansion
The health care fight consuming Washington looks a little different at the state level where a handful of Republican governors have embraced a central tenet of the new law: expanding Medicaid to cover the poor. Prominent Republican governors have pegged their political fortunes to the expansion, including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who is often mentioned as a White House hopeful in 2016, and others who have potentially difficult re-elections next year, such as Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (O’Connor and Radnofsky, 11/21).

The Associated Press: N.H. Senate Blocks Medicaid Expansion
New Hampshire's Republican Senate rejected plans to extend Medicaid coverage to an estimated 49,000 low-income adults Thursday, ending hopes for expansion this year. Democratic Gov. Maggie Hassan said afterward she will keep trying to win legislative authorization (Love, 11/22).

Concord (N.H.) Monitor: No Deal On Medicaid Expansion 
A special session of the Legislature closed yesterday with no deal for expanding Medicaid to an additional 50,000 low-income adults, despite leaders on both sides of the political aisle saying they remain willing and eager to reach a compromise (Palmero, 11/22).

New Hampshire Public Radio: Senate Can't Agree On Medicaid Expansion
The State Senate couldn’t pass the plan favored by GOP leaders, and then rejected a plan embraced by Democrats on party lines. Ultimately, the Senate adopted a second GOP proposal, before laying it on the table. Two hours later it rejected a Medicaid bill passed by Democrats in the N.H. House (Rogers, 11/21).

The Washington Post: A Montana Group Wants Voters To Decide On The Obamacare Medicaid Expansion
There’s no shortage of controversy surrounding the president's landmark health care law, but one battle has been fought in each and every state: whether to expand Medicaid under the law. The nation is evenly split — half the states are moving forward with the expansion and half aren't. In some states, the decision came down from the governor and in others, the legislature. In Montana, the governor was for it, but a mistaken vote -- yes one man’s mistake -- killed its chances in the state House. But now, a coalition of groups under the banner Healthy Montana Initiative wants to put the question to voters next fall (Chokshi, 11/22).

Montana Standard: Advocates For Medicaid Expansion In Montana Launch Ballot Measure
Supporters of expanding Medicaid health coverage to 70,000 low-income Montanans submitted language Thursday for a 2014 ballot measure, which would take the issue directly to Montana voters. "This didn’t get addressed at the last Legislature, so we’re looking forward to our citizens addressing it themselves," said Lori Chovanak, executive director of the Montana Nurses Association (Dennison, 11/21).

The New York Times: Maine Hires Firm To Study Medicaid System, To Democrats' Ire
Officials in Maine have hired a consulting firm to study the state's Medicaid system, to include evaluating the cost of expanding the program under President Obama's Affordable Care Act, a move Gov. Paul R. LePage has in the past rejected (Bidgood, 11/21).

Salt Lake Tribune: Utah Legislative Panel Rejects Full Medicaid Expansion
The full expansion of Utah’s Medicaid program as envisioned by the Affordable Care Act is off the table, under a list of options whittled from nine to three Thursday by lawmakers. A full expansion is estimated to cover 150,000 Utahns earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level — about $32,000 for a family of four. Instead, the Legislative Health System Reform Task Force will weigh just three scenarios before making a final recommendation to the full Utah Legislature (Stewart, 11/21).

Kansas Health Institute: White House Officials Hold Call To Urge Medicaid Expansion In Kansas
White House officials today held a news conference with Kansas State Rep. Barbara Ballard to make the case for expanding Medicaid eligibility in Kansas. White House Principal Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the health reform law will make access to health insurance coverage available for less than $100 a month to six in 10 currently uninsured Americans (Cauthon, 11/21).

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