Working Poor At Heart Of Medicaid Debate As Govs Draw Line In The Sand

Even as state executives such as Texas Gov. Rick Perry and Florida Gov. Rick Scott remain firm in their opposition to the health law's Medicaid expansion, health providers such as Cleveland Clinic CEO and President Tony Cosgrove express their support for it.   

The Associated Press: Working Poor Stand At Center Of Medicaid Debate
Families like the Gallegos stand at the center of a debate over President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, which could have expanded Medicaid coverage to 1.3 million uninsured Texans. But Republican Gov. Rick Perry has said he will not widen the program because it would cost too much (Sherman and Llorca, 7/22).

Miami Herald: Medicaid Expansion Spurs Debate In Florida
Medicaid is about to take a starring role in the national health care debate. Today, only certain people qualify for the health insurance program for the very poor: the elderly, the disabled, pregnant women and children. Under its proposed expansion, any poor American could qualify — a key part of health care reform. But thanks to the recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling, decisions about expanding Medicaid have been left to the states. And Gov. Rick Scott was the first governor in the land to declare he wouldn't do it (Martin and Holan, 7/21).

CQ Healthbeat:  Cleveland Clinic Leader Supports Medicaid Expansion
Cleveland Clinic president and CEO Toby Cosgrove warned Friday that in states that do not expand Medicaid in 2014, medical providers will suffer from lower reimbursements and insurance premiums will be higher than in states where the health program for the poor is broadened.  Governors in many states are facing pressure from medical providers such as hospitals, clinics and physicians to go ahead with the expansion of Medicaid as called for in the 2010 health care law (Adams, 7/20).

Modern Healthcare: Cosgrove Sees Premiums Going Up If Medicaid Isn't Expanded
The head of the largest Medicaid provider in Ohio said private insurance premiums will increase if that state opts not to expand the program. Dr. Delos Cosgrove, president and CEO of the Cleveland Clinic, said if his state opts not to expand its Medicaid program to cover all patients with incomes of up to 133% of the federal poverty level with a 5% leeway up to 138%, then he expects the number of indigent patients will increase (Daly, 7/21).

The Associated Press: US Poverty On Track To Rise To Highest Since 1960s
Stacey Mazer of the National Association of State Budget Officers said states will be watching for poverty increases when figures are released in September as they make decisions about the Medicaid expansion. Most states generally assume poverty levels will hold mostly steady and they will hesitate if the findings show otherwise. "It's a constant tension in the budget," she said (Yen, 7/23).

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