Ohio Gov. Vows To Keep Trying On Medicaid Expansion; Ark. Lawmakers Near Key Votes On Issue

The Ohio House is dropping expansion from Gov. John Kasich's budget while he says hospitals and other stakeholders must help in the effort to expand the health care program for low-income people. Meanwhile, supporters of an expansion try to rally support in Arkansas.

The Associated Press: Ohio Gov To Continue Fight For Medicaid Expansion
Ohio Gov. John Kasich said Wednesday he will continue to fight for extending Medicaid coverage under the federal health care law, a day after his fellow Republicans removed the proposal from the state budget. Kasich told reporters he doesn't take it personally that GOP leaders in the Ohio House dropped the expansion from their version of the two-year budget proposal on Tuesday (Sanner, 4/10).

Columbus Dispatch: Kasich 'Profoundly Disagrees' With House On Medicaid Expansion
For months, Kasich’s been urging the extension of insurance coverage to 275,000 poor Ohioans by expanding Medicaid with federal funds, while Republicans in the House have balked over the expansion’s relation to Obamacare and fears over the federal debt. "I can't turn water into wine," Kasich said. "It's not my calling." Kasich said he would "do everything I can to fight for it in a constructive way," but hinted that stakeholders outside of government -- i.e. hospitals -- would need to play more of a role in the persuasion game. A rally of up to a couple thousand people sponsored by a Medicaid expansion coalition of interest groups is planned for Thursday at the Statehouse (Vardon, 4/10).

The Associated Press: Ark. Lawmakers Near Key Votes On Health Insurance
Supporters of using federal Medicaid dollars to expand private health care coverage for low-income residents in Arkansas were trying to rally support Wednesday as the Legislature approached a series of key votes on the issue later this week (Stratford, 4/10).

Meanwhile, news outlets look at the issue in other states --

The Associated Press: Jindal Won't Seek To Follow Arkansas On Medicaid
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration announced Tuesday that it won't seek to replicate a private insurance Medicaid expansion model like Arkansas, despite requests from Louisiana lawmakers to consider it. Jindal's interim health secretary, Kathy Kliebert, told the Senate Health and Welfare Committee that the federal guidelines outlined for the Arkansas proposal don't offer enough flexibility and leave too much uncertainty about future financing and regulations (Deslatte, 4/11).

Des Moines Register: Lobbyists Seek Compromise In Divisive Health Care Debate
Interest groups and observers called for a third option on Wednesday in a legislative debate over state-sponsored health care that has so far focused on competing plans favored by Democrats and Republicans. Representatives from hospitals and others in the medical field said they favored the funding mechanism included in the Democrats’ preferred plan: an expansion of the existing Medicaid program that would draw down substantial new federal dollars. But they also lauded the innovative changes to the way the state provides health care to the poor envisioned in the alternative plan Republican Gov. Terry Branstad rolled out last week. An ideal compromise, they said, would accept federal dollars but move away from traditional Medicaid and toward care that aims to prevent serious illnesses and pays providers for keeping patients healthy (Noble and Petroski, 4/10).

The Associated Press: Bryant: Obama Budget Undercuts Medicaid Expansion
Top Mississippi Republicans say their opposition to Medicaid expansion is getting a boost from an unlikely source -- President Barack Obama. The Democratic president released his proposed federal budget Wednesday. It includes a one-year delay in reduction of "disproportionate share" Medicaid payments -- money hospitals receive for treating large numbers of uninsured patients (Pettus, 4/10).

Springfield (Mo.) News Leader: Nixon, Applauding Springfield Chamber, Pushes Medicaid Expansion
When Jim Anderson talks, people should listen. That's the message Wednesday from (Missouri) Gov. Jay Nixon who came to Springfield to promote Medicaid expansion. The Springfield Area Chamber of Commerce, which Anderson heads, was the first local chamber in the state to support expanding Medicaid. Nixon said that premiums paid for private health insurance could rise if Medicaid isn't expanded as private carriers continue to pay for some of the cost of those who are uninsured (Okeson, 4/10).

In other implementation news -

The Associated Press: Nearly 200,000 In NM Eligible For Health Credits
Nearly 192,000 New Mexicans will be eligible for subsidies to help pay for health insurance next year, according to a report an advocacy group released Wednesday. The report from Families USA, a Washington-based consumer health organization, said the federal tax credits that take effect Jan. 1 will make health insurance affordable for many working families and young people (Clausing, 4/10).

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