KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Several States Still Facing Debates About Medicaid Expansion

Pennsylvania and Ohio are among the states where the Medicaid question is still in play this year. Meanwhile, in Arizona, an effort to get a referendum to block the expansion fails, and an advocacy group vows to bring a lawsuit to stop it.

Politico: Reluctant States Face Medicaid: Yes? No? Punt?
Obamacare sign-up starts in less than a month but a few states are still answering a basic question: Are they in, or are they out of the law's massive expansion of Medicaid? Legislatures in pivotal swing states like Ohio and Pennsylvania are dusting off their gavels from summer recess and diving back into the high-stakes Medicaid debate over whether to extend health coverage to hundreds of thousands of low-income Americans. Others are looking at ballot measures to spur action because lawmakers won't convene again until next year. ... Here’s a look at emerging themes in this unfinished chapter of Obamacare (Cheney and Millman, 9/12).

Philadelphia Inquirer/Kaiser Health News: Pennsylvania Governor Weighing Medicaid Expansion If Tied To Changes
Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett is considering an expansion of Medicaid to cover hundreds of thousands of uninsured residents if he can also win significant changes to the existing part of the entitlement program, which otherwise would continue in its current form (Sapatkin, 9/11).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Expansion Foes Fail To Block Law
Opponents of a new law expanding Medicaid in Arizona failed in their effort to block the law by forcing a referendum, conceding Wednesday that they just didn't collect enough signatures. The group was about 5,000 short of the 86,405 signatures they needed before the 5 p.m. Wednesday deadline, organizer Christine Bauserman said (Christie, 9/11).

The Arizona Republic: Goldwater To Sue Over Medicaid Law
The Goldwater Institute says it will file suit today to overturn Arizona's new law expanding Medicaid eligibility, a day after efforts failed to refer the matter to voters. The lawsuit against Gov. Jan Brewer and the state's Medicaid director, to be filed in Maricopa County Superior Court on behalf of lawmakers who voted against expansion, argues that the governor and a bipartisan legislative coalition violated the state Constitution by imposing a tax on hospitals without garnering a two-thirds majority (Reinhart, 9/11).

Meanwhile, The Associated Press looks at the issues individuals will face in states that do not expand their Medicaid rolls.

The Associated Press: Haves And Have-Nots As Health Care Markets Open
Having health insurance used to hinge on where you worked and what your medical history said. Soon that won't matter, with open-access markets for subsidized coverage coming Oct. 1 under President Barack Obama's overhaul. But there's a new wild card, something that didn't seem so critical when Congress passed the Affordable Care Act back in 2010: where you live (Alonso-Zaldivar, 9/11).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Expansion Happy Surprise For Colorado Man
Colorado is one of at least 24 states expanding Medicaid access for adults under the Affordable Care Act. In Colorado, that means single adults who earned less than $15,400 last year will have access to Medicaid. Childless adults in the state currently qualify for Medicaid only if they make less than $95 a month. Colorado estimates about 160,000 people will be added to state Medicaid rolls under the new guidelines. … [Morgan] Kinney said he feels incredibly fortunate to live in a state where he will receive basic coverage through the government program. He has seen firsthand just how expensive medical expenses can be (Wyatt, 9/12).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Politics Affect Low-Wage Pizza Employee
[Chris Gatliff's] home state, Oklahoma, opted against accepting the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. The result is that thousands of Oklahomans who would have qualified under the expanded program are left in limbo about their health insurance. At the same time, a Medicaid-linked program called Insure Oklahoma that provides Gatliff with his current coverage was due to expire Dec. 31. That left him facing the prospect of having no insurance at the end of the year, so the part-time pizza shop employee began planning to stockpile his medications (Murphy, 9/12).

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