Fla. Lawmakers Close In On Medicaid Expansion Deal

Florida lawmakers are closer to a deal that would OK a Medicaid expansion there -- the state would use federal funds to cover more vulnerable residents while providing childless adults and adult parents with state money to buy private insurance.

The Associated Press: Fla. House, Senate Negotiating Medicaid Compromise
Florida House and Senate leaders are negotiating a deal that would use state and federal dollars to offer health coverage to thousands of uninsured Floridians under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, according to a person close to the talks. The state would use federal funds to cover more vulnerable populations, including pregnant women and the disabled, and would pony up state funds to offer more limited health coverage to about 300,000 childless adults and roughly 57,000 adult parents, giving the latter groups a set amount to purchase private insurance (Kennedy, 4/24).

Health News Florida: FL Medicaid: Why Doesn't House Take The Money
The hottest issue of this legislative session has been the question "Will Florida take $50 billion in federal Medicaid funds to cover over 1 million uninsured?" The Senate and governor say yes, while the House says no, no, no.  While so far every Democrat in the Capitol has favored taking the money, it's not wholly a partisan split; many Republicans want to, as well (Gentry, 4/24).

In Ohio, Republicans strip the governor's plan for expansion from a state budget bill --

The Associated Press: Medicaid Expansion Plan In Ohio Takes Another Hit
Gov. John Kasich's plan to expand Medicaid health insurance coverage to more low-income Ohioans as part of the state budget has come up against another roadblock from Republicans who control the Legislature. The Senate's version of the state budget won't include the governor's proposed Medicaid expansion, Senate President Keith Faber said Wednesday, but he said that Medicaid "reform" is not dead in Ohio (Seewer, 4/24).

The Columbus Dispatch: Medicaid Changes Will Be Taken Up Separately, GOP Legislator Says
The debate over how to alter the Medicaid program and cover more low-income Ohioans is not over, but the expansion is dead as it relates to the two-year state budget, Senate President Keith Faber said yesterday. ... In his two-year budget proposal, Gov. John Kasich suggested expanding Medicaid under the federal health-care law to people earning 138 percent of the federal poverty level. That would cover 275,000 low-income Ohioans and bring $13 billion in federal money to Ohio over seven years. House Republicans rejected that plan and instead pledged to work with the Kasich administration to develop a new Medicaid proposal this fall (Siegel and Candisky, 4/25).

In Louisiana, a House panel rejects the expansion --

New Orleans Times Picayune: Louisiana Health Committee Rejects Medicaid Expansion Bill
After nearly five hours of testimony, a House health panel voted along party lines to reject a bill that would have forced Gov. Bobby Jindal to opt into the Medicaid expansion envisioned under the federal health care law. Jindal has consistently resisted the expansion, though the cost would largely be covered by the federal government, saying Medicaid is badly flawed and must be reformed (Kumar, 4/24).

The Associated Press: House Health Committee Rebuffs Medicaid Expansion
An attempt to cover more uninsured people in [Louisiana's] Medicaid program, as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act, was rejected Wednesday by a House committee. After five hours of debate, the House Health and Welfare Committee voted along party lines, 11-8, to defeat the measure and support the stance of Gov. Bobby Jindal. Republicans opposed the Medicaid expansion and Democrats supported it (Deslatte, 4/24).

In Colorado, the expansion moves forward without Republican support, and Missouri lawmakers won't consider an alternative to the expansion --

Health Policy Solutions (a Colo. news service): Medicaid Expansion Moves Toward Passage Without Republicans
A bill that would expand Medicaid to about 200,000 more low-income Coloradans continues to move through the Colorado legislature without support from Republicans in the House. Bill sponsor and House Speaker Mark Ferrandino, D-Denver, said Medicaid expansion would boost Colorado’s economy by $4.4 billion and add up to 22,000 jobs by 2026 while saving taxpayers money in the long run. Ferrandino sold Medicaid expansion as a measure that is winning support from Republican governors around the country. But in Colorado, members of the GOP are not biting. While no opponents spoke against the bill -- just like an earlier Senate hearing -- Republicans remained deeply opposed. They said Medicaid doesn’t pay doctors enough and that in future years the federal government could break its promise  to pay the bulk of the costs to add new patients (Kerwin McCrimmon, 4/24).

St. Louis Post Dispatch: Barnes: Mo. Senate Unwilling To Take Up Medicaid Expansion Alternative
The Missouri House signaled on Wednesday an end to this session’s Medicaid expansion battle, blaming the Senate for its unwillingness to explore an alternative proposal backed by some House Republicans. "Unfortunately, the Missouri state Senate has indicated it does not have the stomach to pick up a Medicaid transformation bill this year," said Rep. Jay Barnes, R-Jefferson City, after proposing and then withdrawing an amendment containing his alternative proposal on the House floor. "Rather than figure out how we can make the best out of a bad situation, they are ceding the field for another year" (Crisp, 4/24).

And details emerge about how a mistakenly cast vote killed Montana's try at expansion --

The Washington Post: Accidents happen: How One Mistaken Vote Killed Montana's Medicaid Expansion
Some states have declined to expand Medicaid because they oppose Obamacare. Others worry about the financial burden of expanding the entitlement. But there appears to be only one state where the Medicaid expansion failed due to a Democratic legislator accidentally voting against it. Congratulations, Montana (Kliff, 4/24).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.