Indiana House Panel Approves Medicaid Expansion Option

The legislation would use the state's Healthy Indiana Plan to add coverage for 400,000 low-income residents.

The Associated Press: House Panel Oks Medicaid Expansion Through HIP Plan
Medicaid would be expanded in Indiana through a state-run program under legislation approved Monday by a House committee, but while the plan keeps an opt-out provision should federal aid ever dry up, it reverses the governor's preferred funding mechanism. The measure approved 8-5 by the House Public Health Committee removes a major part of the Senate's Medicaid proposal, which was supported by Gov. Mike Pence (4/1).

Indianapolis Star: House Committee Alters Controversial Medicaid Expansion Plan Backed By Gov. Mike Pence
The Indiana House Public Health Committee passed legislation today by an 8-5 bipartisan vote that could expand Medicaid through the Healthy Indiana Plan. Gov. Mike Pence proposes to expand the federal program for the uninsured to about 400,000 more Hoosiers. But he wants to merge Medicaid with the state's own program for the uninsured. Indiana has asked Washington for permission to do so — no sure thing. Pence and lawmakers like the mix of copays, managed and preventive health-care options and spending controls within the Healthy Indiana Plan, which was passed in 2007 with bipartisan support (Sikich, 4/1).

In Texas, state officials held a battle of the press conferences on the expansion question.

Reuters: Texas Governor Reiterates Medicaid Expansion Opposition
Texas Governor Rick Perry on Monday firmly reiterated that the state will not expand its Medicaid program, saying it is a broken system that needs to be reformed by allowing states more flexibility. Perry, who notified the Obama administration last summer that his state would not expand Medicaid, was joined on Monday by other Texas Republican officials, including U.S. Senators John Cornyn and Ted Cruz (MacLaggan, 4/1).

The Hill: Perry Doubles Down Against ObamaCare's Medicaid Expansion
Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) doubled down Monday in his opposition to expanding Medicaid under President Obama's healthcare law, even though opposing it could cost his state $90 billion. At a press conference where he was flanked by other conservatives, Perry argued expanding the health insurance program for the poor would make Texas "hostage" to the federal government (Viebeck, 4/1).

Politico: Rick Perry: White House Holding States 'Hostage' With Medicaid Expansion
Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued his most forceful rejection yet of the health law's massive Medicaid expansion, calling it a "fool's errand" and promising that governors in pro-expansion states would regret their support. … Perry’s comments are a direct rejection of a recent movement among Republican governors in support of Medicaid expansion. Those governors have argued that expansion would provide an economic windfall for their states, offer basic health coverage to the most vulnerable and prop up struggling hospitals (Cheney, 4/2).

The Texas Tribune: State Leaders Make Case For, Against Expanding Medicaid
The Republican event was followed by a Democratic one led by U.S. Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-San Antonio; his brother, San Antonio Mayor Julián Castro; U.S. Rep. Lloyd Doggett, D-Austin; and legislative Democrats. They demanded that state leaders find a way to draw down the federal money and lift Texas' stigma as having the highest uninsured population of any state. (Ramshaw, 4/1).

And in other states --

St. Louis Beacon: Vote Set On Plan To Change Medicaid In Missouri
The Missouri House has passed a new state budget without Gov. Jay Nixon's sought-after Medicaid expansion, but that doesn't mean Republicans are dropping the topic entirely. The House Government Oversight and Accountability Committee is slated to vote Wednesday on HB700, a bill proposed by state Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, to dramatically change the state's current Medicaid program (Rosenbaum and Mannies, 4/2).

Health News Florida: Feds Like FL Plan, But Some FL Officials Don't Want Feds' Money
In the Friday afternoon rush, those who are tracking the debate on Florida Medicaid expansion may have missed three important events. … Economists from the University of Florida released a study indicating that accepting the money and expanding Medicaid to those under 138 percent of the poverty level -- an approach that State Sen. Joe Negron's "Healthy Florida" plan adopts -- would add 122,000 jobs in the state. State Sen. Aaron Bean offered an alternative plan that is more to the liking of House leaders -- it offers benefit accounts, not insurance, to those at 100 percent of the poverty level. And it would reject the extra federal funds. The federal government released the official rules that say it will cover 100 percent of the cost of expansion for the joint federal-state insurance program for the poor for three years, tapering to 90 percent by 2020 (Gentry, 4/2).

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