KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Virginia’s Medicaid Panel Meets, But Covers Little New Ground

During a Monday planning meeting, a Virginia Medicaid policymaking panel examined what other states are doing in terms of expanding the program. Hundreds of conservative activists who oppose this health law provision rallied at the state capitol.

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Va. Medicaid Panel Learns It's Not Alone In Expansion Dilemma, But Little Else At Meeting
The Virginia policymaking panel with its hand on the throttle and foot on the brake of Medicaid expansion learned Monday that theirs isn't the only Republican-led state still wrestling with the issue. In a three-hour meeting, the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission learned little not already known other than how other states are handling the issue (8/19).

Roanoke Times: Virginia Medicaid Panel Leader Cites Progress In Overhaul Efforts
Virginia is making progress in an effort to reform — and then possibly expand — its Medicaid program, the leader of a legislative panel overseeing the process said Monday. “I would say that we’re a little over halfway there,” said Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta County, chairman of the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, which under the new federal health care law is mulling an expansion of the government health insurance program for the poor and disabled. Meeting for the second time Monday, the commission received an update on 19 areas of reform identified by the General Assembly, which has mandated that the system must be improved before eligibility requirements are broadened (Hammack, 8/20).

Richmond Times-Dispatch: Va. Among States Seeking Middle Ground On Medicaid Expansion
Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder came up with an idea to bank initial savings from expanding the state's Medicaid program to pay for future costs of extending health care benefits to more uninsured people. Virginia got there first (Martz, 8/20).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Hundreds Protest Medicaid Expansion At Virginia Capitol Rally
Hundreds of conservative activists expressed their opposition to Medicaid expansion at a state Capitol rally. The organization Americans for Prosperity sponsored the rally just before Monday's meeting of the state's Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission. The General Assembly established the commission earlier this year to monitor implementation of Medicaid reforms sought by Virginia as a condition for expanding the program to an additional 400,000 uninsured low-income residents under the federal health care reform law (8/19).

In other Medicaid news -

Modern Healthcare: Reform Update: Slow Start For Medicaid Fee-For-Service Rate Bump
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act relies heavily on expanding Medicaid eligibility to increase insurance coverage and healthcare access. But its authors had to make sure that physicians would accept new Medicaid patients. So congressional Democrats included a temporary pay increase that ups fees for primary-care doctors serving Medicaid patients to Medicare rates for 2013 and 2014. Still, implementation has been slow (Robeznieks, 8/19).

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