Medicaid Signups May Be Affected By Website Glitches

The federal government has been unable to transfer full Medicaid applications to the 36 states participating in healthcare.gov, potentially leaving some who sign up for Medicaid without coverage. The administration says it will send states partial files for processing, but some state officials are balking. Other Medicaid developments in Wisconsin, Virginia, Georgia, Florida and Texas are also covered.

The Wall Street Journal: Medicaid Is Latest Health-Site Victim
States are warning that they may not process Medicaid enrollments from people who have signed up for the health program through the troubled HealthCare.gov site, raising the prospect that several hundred thousand low-income people who thought they had obtained insurance actually may not have it (Radnofsky, 12/4).

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Healthcare.gov Is Having Trouble Signing People Up For Medicaid
Every week, usually on Tuesday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services sends state Medicaid departments something called a "flat file." These files are sort of similar to the much-discussed 834 transmissions, which the exchange sends to an insurance plan when someone signs up. Except the flat files are for the Medicaid program, and lists people that the exchange thinks -- but hasn't officially determined -- will be eligible for the Medicaid program. And, much like the those 834 transmissions, Medicaid officials say, these flat files are riddled with errors and incomplete information (Kliff, 12/4).

The Associated Press/New York Times: Wisconsin: Medicaid Delay Bill Advances
The State Assembly passed a bill on Wednesday that would give those losing their Medicaid coverage three more months to sign up for private plans through the new federal online marketplace. Assembly Republicans said that the Obama administration’s health care failures forced them to take quick action on a bill that Gov. Scott Walker proposed and called the Legislature into special session for this month (12/4).

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Gov. Scott Walker Gaining Support For Plan To Sidestep Obamacare
Gov. Scott Walker wants consumers to be able to sidestep Obamacare's online insurance market and still get subsidized coverage — and at least one of his requests to do that might get traction. The GOP governor's push comes as the Assembly voted, 64-32, Wednesday to approve Walker's separate proposal to respond to the troubled rollout of the federal health law by waiting to drop patients off state BadgerCare Plus health care coverage (Stein, 12/4).  

The Associated Press/Washington Post: [Virginia] House, Senate Still At Odds On Medicaid Expansion
The chairman of a joint legislative commission looking at possible Medicaid expansion in Virginia indicated Wednesday that members remain “at a bit of an impasse” over the issue. Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Augusta and chairman of the state’s Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission, said that House and Senate contingents on the commission are still looking for “a grand bargain that will allow us politically to go forward” (12/4).

The Dallas Morning News: Study: Refusal To Expand Medicaid Is Costing Texas Billions
If Texas keeps refusing to enlarge Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the state will pass up a heap of money, a new study has found. In 2022, the state would pass up federal money for Medicaid expansion equal to more than twice its haul that year in federal highway aid, according to researchers Sherry Glied and Stephanie Ma of New York University. Texas would forfeit $9.6 billion of federal Medicaid matching funds in 2022. That’s one-fourth of what the federal government expects to spend on defense contracts in the state that year, the study said (Garrett, 12/4).

Georgia Health News: Study Calculates Cost Of Expansion Decision
Only Texas and Florida would have net losses higher than Georgia among 20 states that have opted not to expand Medicaid, said the study, conducted by Sherry Glied and Stephanie Ma of New York University. Georgia would see a net loss of $2.86 billion in 2022 if it were the only state remaining that did not increase its Medicaid program to cover more low-income adults, said the study, which takes into account the federal taxes paid by state residents for other states’ expansions (Miller, 12/5).

Health News Florida: Medicaid Grows Without ‘Expansion’ Money
Even though Florida’s Legislature turned down federal funds to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, leaving billions of federal dollars on the table, the state's health insurance program for the poor continues to grow. Florida’s Medicaid program added about 165,000 people in October, according to a report from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Gentry, 12/4).

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