In Various States, Groups Battle Over Expanding Medicaid

Lawmakers and stakeholders continue to wrestle with the pros and cons of the health law's Medicaid expansion, as well as with the budget issues related to the state-federal insurance program for low-income people.

Los Angeles Times: Key Legislative Committee To Consider Medi-Cal Expansion
A key Assembly panel will consider legislation Tuesday that would dramatically expand Medi-Cal, the state's public insurance program for the poor. The proposal, authored by Assembly Speaker John A. Perez (D-Los Angeles), is part of a legislative package that aims to help California implement President Obama's healthcare overhaul (Mishak, 2/18).

The Associated Press: Miss. Dems Push GOP For Medicaid Expansion Vote
Mississippi House Democrats said Monday they're trying to bring pressure on Republicans to revive a Medicaid bill that's blocked in a committee. Republicans, meanwhile, say Democrats are playing politics with a government health insurance program that covers about 1 in every 5 Mississippi residents (Pettus, 2/18).

The Associated Press: Medicaid Takes A Back Seat In The 89th General Assembly
What happened to the Medicaid session? Despite all the talk before lawmakers gathered at the Arkansas Capitol that Medicaid's finances and future would overshadow just about every other issue, there's been scant attention paid to the $5 billion program and efforts to expand it under the federal health care law (DeMillo, 2/17).

Kansas Health Institute: Kansas Hospital Group Study Predicts Expanding Medicaid Would Generate 4,000 Jobs
A study released today by the Kansas Hospital Association says that expanding Medicaid eligibility to levels called for in the federal health reform law would pump more than $3 billion into the state’s economy and create 4,000 new jobs by 2020. The study, done for the association by the Center for Health Policy Research at George Washington University and Regional Economic Models, Inc., also shows that expansion would save the state more than it would cost (McLean, 2/18).

North Carolina Health News: Hospitals, Patients To See Red Ink Without Medicaid Expansion
As North Carolina lawmakers move forward on a bill that would reject the expansion of Medicaid allowed under the Affordable Care Act, patients and hospital administrators are expressing dismay. ... The expansion would cost North Carolina about $900 million over six years and bring in at least $15 billion of federal dollars over the same time period to cover the bulk of expenses. But this week, lawmakers voted to reject extending the program, passing the bill along mostly party lines (Hoban, 2/15).

Kansas City Star: Missouri Democrats Say Rural Hospitals Need Expanded Medicaid
The leader of a rural Missouri hospital warned lawmakers Monday that failure to expand eligibility for Medicaid could put institutions like his at risk of failure. Kerry Noble, the CEO of Pemiscot Memorial Hospital in Hayti, stood alongside Rep. Jake Hummel, the House minority leader, to unveil legislation that would expand Missouri’s Medicaid eligibility requirements to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, as called for by the federal health-care law. If Medicaid is not expanded — and Republican legislative leaders have opposed the idea — Noble said his hospital, in southeast Missouri, would lose around $1 million a year in federal reimbursements for treating uninsured patients (Hancock, 2/18).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from major 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.