KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Nearly 400,000 Poor Americans Flock To Expanded Medicaid

The Washington Post reports the rollout of the law's expanded Medicaid program appears to be 'the silver lining' in the health law's implementation -- signups of nearly 400,000 people appear to be going smoothly. Meanwhile, news outlets cover Medicaid developments in Wisconsin, Ohio and South Carolina.

The Washington Post: Obamacare's Silver Lining? (VIDEO)
For all of the issues surrounding the rollout of the President's signature health care law, one part seems to be working pretty well—the expansion of Medicaid. Close to 400,000 Americas have learned they are now eligible to enroll, but some states haven't embraced the expansion (Henderson, 11/26).

The Washington Post: Walker Calls Special Session On BadgerCare
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) will ask state legislators to keep more than 70,000 low-income residents on the state’s Medicaid program after the rocky rollout of the Affordable Care Act jeopardized their health-care coverage. The legislature will meet next week to consider legislation delaying for three months Walker’s plan to move 77,500 patients off the BadgerCare Plus system and into the federal health-care exchange. ... Walker has also proposed extending the Health Insurance Risk-Sharing Plan, which would provide a safety net as residents transition from the state plan to the federal exchange (Wilson, 11/26).

Related, earlier KHN story: Scott Walker’s Medicaid Maneuver (Toner, 11/19)

The Washington Post: John Kasich’s Medicaid Expansion Gambit Is A Double-Edged Sword
Gov. John Kasich went against the grain of many GOP governors with his push to expand Medicaid in Ohio under the federal health-care law. How will the decision affect Kasich's reelection prospects? The early read is that it's a mixed bag. A majority of Ohio voters (51 percent) say it is a good idea to expand the scope of Medicaid ... Forty percent say it is a bad idea to broaden Medicaid to cover more individuals, and nine percent don't have an opinion. That's the good news for Kasich, whose image was once floundering but who is now the front-runner to win a second term in 2014. The bad news is that expanding Medicaid isn't really helping him secure votes. (Sullivan, 11/26).

Kaiser Health News: Even Without Expansion, S.C. Will See 16% Jump In Medicaid Enrollment
Like half the states, South Carolina chose not to expand Medicaid under the federal health law next year, citing the program’s high costs and inefficiency. Yet, state officials still forecast a 16 percent enrollment jump by the end of June, 2015, triple that of a typical year and even higher than the 12 percent average increase expected in states that are expanding eligibility. What’s going on? South Carolina officials say publicity for the Affordable Care Act and its requirement that most people get insurance will attract tens of thousands of people who are currently eligible for Medicaid but have not enrolled (Galewitz, 11/26).

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