The Washington Times (12/29, Howell) reports that as states consider whether to expand Medicaid under the ACA, they are also considering how they will cover the cost of the expansion as the Federal government’s support begins to taper off in 2017. Under the law, in 2017, “the federal share would drop to 95 percent, and slide to 90 percent in 2020,” and a number of “Republican governors looking to expand are now trying to find innovative ways to offset the costs the states will eventually have to bear, in order to convince skeptical state legislatures.” Possible solutions being considered include “imposing fees on hospitals that will benefit from the expansion,” or levying cigarette taxes.
Arkansas Lawmakers To Test Boundaries Of Medicaid “Private Option” Plan. The AP (12/25, Demillo) reported that Arkansas lawmakers “are weighing changes to the state’s compromise Medicaid expansion that will test just how much flexibility the federal government is willing to give, according to the head of the Arkansas Senate and an architect of the program.” Senate President Jonathan Dismang said he has not started counting votes to see if there is enough support in his chamber to continue the “private option,” which uses Federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents.
Florida Pressured To Expand Medicaid In 2015. CNBC (12/30) reports on its website that Florida “so far has resisted calls and significant financial incentives to expand Medicaid eligibility for nearly all poor adults—a move that could offer health coverage to 670,000 or more currently uninsured people in the state.” However, the state may be more likely to expand Medicaid in 2015 “because of several factors,” including the “the risk of losing or seeing a reduction in more than $2 billion in federal health funding, and the guarantee of having about $5 billion in other federal money pumped into the state to pay for new benefits each year.”
Louisiana Debate Over Medicaid Expansion To Carry Into New Year. The New Orleans Times-Picayune (12/30) reports that despite Democratic Sen. Mary Landrieu’s recent defeat, it’s “getting harder for Louisiana to resist at least one aspect of federal health care reform – Medicaid expansion.” Indeed, a recent University of New Orleans poll showed most residents are in favor of expansion.
Missouri Unlikely To Expand Medicaid. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch (12/29) reports that it is unlikely that Missouri will “jump on the bandwagon,” of conservative states considering Medicaid expansion. Gov. Jay Nixon (D) supports expansion, but “Republican legislative leaders say it is a nonstarter in the upcoming session.”
Activists Urge North Carolina Leaders To Expand Medicaid. The High Point (NC) Enterprise (12/26) reported in continuing coverage that a study released earlier this month by the Cone Health Foundation and the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust found that North Carolina has lost out on about $6 billion in Federal funding by not expanding Medicaid. Activists are “pressuring state Republican leaders to expand Medicaid” and pointing to the new research.
Part Of Pennsylvania’s Expansion Plan Still Pending CMS Approval. The Lancaster (PA) New Era (12/25) reported that Healthy PA, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett’s (R) version of Medicaid expansion, “consists of three benefit plans, but only two of them will go into effect Jan. 1.” The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has approved Private Coverage Option and Healthy Plus, but it has until March to decide on Healthy, which is for current Medicaid enrollees deemed low-risk.
Haslam’s Hospital Deal May Spur Other GOP Governors To Consider Medicaid Expansion. NPR (12/29) reports that, until recently, expanding Medicaid in Tennessee had “been seen as a political poison pill.” But the hospital lobby “has struck a unique deal with Republican Gov. Bill Haslam to pay for the expansion, a move that has paved the way for greater GOP support.” Under the deal, the Tennessee Hospital Association will pay for the state’s contribution to the program.
Coalition Plans Another Push For Medicaid Expansion In Texas. The Houston Chronicle (12/25) reported that during a private meeting last week with Houston-area state lawmakers, Texas Gov.-elect Greg Abbott (R) sought “more information about a compromise recently struck by the Republican governor of Utah and the federal government that could pave the way for that heavily conservative state to expand Medicaid” under the ACA.
Virginia Democrats To Press Republicans On Medicaid Expansion. The Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch (12/30) reports that Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates “will try to make Republicans in the more competitive districts cast politically sensitive votes in the 2015 General Assembly session that starts Jan. 14.” House Minority Leader David J. Toscano (D-Charlottesville), urged members of his party to “create dilemmas for our Republican colleagues.” He stated, “It’s a good thing for us to get things like (Medicaid expansion) passed, and if Republicans don’t want to vote for it, they have to take responsibility for their votes.”
Wyoming Medicaid Expansion Debate To Continue In 2015. The Casper (WY) Star-Tribune (12/25) reported that the Wyoming Department of Health last month “released its proposed SHARE plan for Medicaid expansion.” The plan was submitted to the Joint Interim Labor, Health and Social Services committee and “fell on a 7-7 vote.” According to the article, “Medicaid expansion appears to be a priority for several legislators entering the January legislative session.”