Uncertainty Reigns As Some States Mull Medicaid Expansion

With key details left to be sorted out, including estimates of coming tax revenue to cover the cost, Colorado, Missouri and South Carolina are confronting whether to expand Medicaid to millions -- a vital part of the health law's coverage provisions.

The Associated Press: Medicaid Expansion Still Uncertain For Colorado
Colorado health officials won't commit to increasing Medicaid coverage as called for by President Barack Obama's federal health care law, saying it's too soon to know whether the state can afford to expand health care for the needy. Speaking to a group of health care activists, Roxane White, chief of staff to Democratic Gov. John Hickenlooper, said Wednesday the administration is waiting until after a December tax estimate before deciding how to proceed (Wyatt, 11/28).

The Associated Press: Mo. Medical Groups Pushing For Medicaid Expansion
Missouri medical groups launched a campaign Wednesday to expand Medicaid coverage to thousands of working adults, citing a study estimating that the expansion largely funded by federal money could lead to 24,000 new jobs across the state. The push to expand Missouri's Medicaid program could also get a boost from Gov. Jay Nixon, who before his re-election this month had been noncommittal  (Lieb, 11/28).

St. Louis Beacon: Expanding Medicaid Called A ‘Win-Win’ For Jobs, Tax Revenue In Missouri 
The Republican legislative leadership in Jefferson City has generally opposed expanding the program for philosophical and fiscal reasons. While acknowledging such opposing views as legitimate arguments, those [medical groups] releasing the report this morning said their study represented a conservative estimate of cost and would put Missouri in what one described as a win-win economic situation if it chooses to expand Medicaid (Joiner, 11/28).

The Associated Press: SC Senators Warned About Rising Medicaid Costs
The director of South Carolina's Medicaid agency told state senators Wednesday that whether they support or oppose federal health care reform, they need to get ready for costs associated with the government health insurance program to increase rapidly. Department of Health and Human Services Director Tony Keck said his agency estimates the changes mean about 200,000 more people will join the 1 million adults and children in the state already using Medicaid (Collins, 11/28).

Politico Pro: Experts: Governors Won't Resist Medicaid Expansion For Long
Governors will eventually succumb to pressure to expand their Medicaid programs, a pair of health care experts predicted Thursday, arguing that the prospect of medical practices going out of business will force their hands. “The governor gets to decide whether these providers are going to go out of business,” Dan Mendelson, president of Avalere Health, said at a POLITICO Pro health policy breakfast. ... Gail Wilensky, who headed Medicaid for President George H.W. Bush, predicted that states resisting Medicaid expansion would reverse themselves within a few years (Cheney, 11/29).

Hispanics stand to gain if the expansion takes hold --

The Hill: Medicaid Expansion Would Benefit Hispanics
Hispanics -- one of Democrats' key voting blocs -- will be the biggest beneficiaries if President Obama's health care law is fully implemented, the law's supporters said Wednesday. Jennifer Ng'andu, director of the Health and Civil Rights Policy Project at the National Council of La Raza, said Hispanics would see the biggest gains in health care coverage if the law is fully implemented, meaning every state opts in to the optional Medicaid expansion. ... [Medicaid] would cover roughly 15 million people if every state took part (Baker, 11/28).

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