KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

5.2M Won’t Get Coverage In States Rejecting Medicaid Expansion

A new report projects that 5.2 million adults will not get health coverage next year because their states aren't expanding Medicaid under the health law. In Wisconsin, expanding the program becomes an issue in the gubernatorial race, while in North Carolina, county commissioners ask state officials to reconsider their decision not to expand, and in Virginia, supporters of expansion outnumber opponents in a hearing.

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Report: 5.2 Million Adults Will Fall Into ACA Coverage Gap Next Year 
About 5.2 million poor, uninsured adults will fall into the 'coverage gap,' created by 26 states choosing not to expand Medicaid under the federal health law next year, according to a study released today by the Kaiser Family Foundation (Galewitz, 10/16).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Mary Burke Says Scott Walker, Legislature Erred On BadgerCare Move
Democratic candidate for [Wisconsin] governor Mary Burke said the state should provide BadgerCare Plus health care coverage to people making up to 138 percent of the poverty level under Obamacare, sharply differing from Republican Gov. Scott Walker's plan. Such an approach would draw an additional $119 million to the state in federal aid over the next two years. Walker rejected that money because he said he did not trust Congress to meet its obligation to provide funding it has already promised over the long term. Burke, a former Trek Bicycle executive, made the comments Tuesday in an interview with The Associated Press. Republicans who control the Legislature approved a plan by Walker this summer that cuts the income threshold for BadgerCare from 200 percent of the poverty level to 100 percent of the poverty level (Marley, 10/15).

The Associated Press: Burke Says Walker Should Have Taken Medicaid Money
Democratic candidate Mary Burke criticized Gov. Scott Walker on Tuesday for turning down $119 million from the federal government to expand Medicaid coverage for Wisconsin residents just above the poverty line. Burke launched her run for governor last week but hasn't spoken in much detail about her campaign platform. In an interview with The Associated Press, Burke said the Republican Walker was wrong not to accept the $119 million in federal money over the next two years to pay for state Medicaid coverage for people earning up to 138 percent of poverty. Instead, Walker lowered BadgerCare Medicaid eligibility from 200 percent to 100 percent of poverty. The move is expected to result in about 92,000 people losing BadgerCare coverage in January (Bauer, 10/15).

In the meantime, the expansion also makes news in Washington, Ohio and North Carolina --

Spokesman Review: Washington Medicaid Increases Dental Coverage For Adults
A quarter-million adults in Washington will gain dental coverage over the next two years as the state expands its Medicaid rolls under the Affordable Care Act and re-establishes programs dropped in budget cutbacks. Starting Jan. 1, current Medicaid recipients who lost coverage after successive rounds of budget cuts in 2009 and 2011 will have it restored, and those added to the health care program under an agreement between the state and federal government will also be eligible for dental coverage, state officials said (Camden, 10/16).

Columbus Dispatch: Kasich’s Medicaid Expansion Expected To Pass Controlling Board
Though no Republican on the board has announced that he will vote for it, Senate President Keith Faber said yesterday he expects Gov. John Kasich to win Controlling Board approval to spend what is needed to expand Medicaid (Siegel, 10/16).

Charlotte Observer: Commissioners To Legislature: Reconsider Your Rejection Of Expanding Medicaid Coverage
Mecklenburg County commissioners passed a resolution Tuesday urging state lawmakers to reconsider turning down billions in federal money that would expand Medicaid coverage to 500,000 uninsured North Carolinians. The resolution, approved 6-3 along party lines, urges Gov. Pat McCrory to call the General Assembly into a special session to reverse its previous decision and expand the state’s Medicaid coverage as part of the Affordable Care Act (Perlmutt, 10/15).

And in Virginia, supporters outnumbered opponents at a hearing on whether the state should expand Medicaid --

Richmond Times-Dispatch: More Than 100 Sound Off On State Medicaid Plans 
With Virginians expected to pay an additional $26 billion in taxes in the next 10 years under the Affordable Care Act, Shinholser wants the state to accept more than $23 billion in federal funds to expand Medicaid and help pay for the drug and alcohol recovery programs his foundation runs. Virginians are expected to receive an additional $6 billion in federal subsidies for insurance sold on the electronic marketplace that will begin operating fully on Jan. 1. ... supporters outnumbered opponents by about 3-to-1 at the hearing, as well as in more than 1,400 online comments received by the commission, according to counts by health insurance and hospital advocates who favor expansion. The gulf between supporters and opponents also was wide on whether expanding Medicaid would help the estimated 400,000 uninsured Virginians (Martz, 10/16).

Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star: Both Sides Speak Out At Medicaid Expansion Hearing
Opponents and proponents of Medicaid eligibility expansion packed a General Assembly committee room Tuesday for the only public hearing planned by the legislative panel that will decide whether Virginia expands the program. ... Dave Schwartz, the Virginia director of Americans for Prosperity -- a national group that has intensely worked against the expansion -- said 1 in 4 doctors don't accept Medicaid, and that expansion would do nothing to help people if they can't see doctors. "Everyone needs coverage. Coverage means nothing if you don't have care," Schwartz said. "I don't know anybody that wants to be part of this program." Dr. Chris Lillis, a Fredericksburg doctor, is on the side of expansion and came to Richmond to say so to the commission members. "This is an historic opportunity to eliminate the problem of the uninsured," he said before the meeting began (Davis, 10/15).

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