Governors Mull Medicaid Expansion As White House Signals States May Reduce Payments

With federal budget cuts looming, the nation's governors met in Washington and discussed whether or not to expand Medicaid as part of the Affordable Care Act.

NPR: Governors' DC Summit Dominated By Medicaid And The Sequester
When the nation's governors gathered in Washington, D.C., over the weekend for their annual winter meeting, the gathering's official theme was about efforts to hire people with disabilities. But out of the public eye, at the sessions for "governors only," the discussion reportedly was dominated by two more pressing issues of the day: whether or not to expand the Medicaid program as part of the Affordable Care Act; and the potential upcoming budget cuts set for the end of the week, known as the sequester (Rovner, 2/25).

The New York Times: States Can Cut Back On Medicaid Payments, Administration Says
The Obama administration said Monday that states could cut Medicaid payments to many doctors and other health care providers to hold down costs in the program, which insures 60 million low-income people and will soon cover many more under the new health care law (Pear, 2/25).

Meanwhile, states continue to take action regarding Medicaid and other aspects of health law implementation --

The Associated Press: Mo. House GOP Lawmakers Defeat Medicaid Expansion
Missouri House Republicans gave a resounding "no" Monday to Democratic plans to expand Medicaid coverage in a strategic preview to the unveiling of an alternative plan touted to transform the state's health care program for the poor into "the most free-market-based Medicaid system in the entire country." Two separate House committees simultaneously heard arguments for — and then rejected — proposals to adopt a central component of President Barack Obama's health care law that could have eventually extended government-funded Medicaid coverage to an additional 300,000 lower-income adults in Missouri (Lieb, 2/25).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Health Care Exchange Hires Va. Company With Troubled History In Conn. To Help Consumers
The state’s health care exchange announced Monday it has selected a Virginia company with a troubled history in Connecticut to run a new center to help consumers enroll in a health insurance plan beginning later this year (2/25).

In other news, CQ HealthBeat examines a health law regulation released last week and Politico details a study tracking health care tweets --

CQ Healthbeat: Remaining Health Care Law Regs Won't Solve Affordability Problem, Insurers Say
Insurers are still waiting for some federal regulations before they file applications to sell coverage under the health care law next year. But two big final rules Health and Human Services officials released last week have left companies with little doubt that a significant number of people will find it difficult to find affordable coverage next year (Reichard, 2/25).

Politico: Health Care Twitter Depends On Who's Tweeting
The study will be made public Tuesday, and an advance copy was given to POLITICO. Kaiser Permanente said it was interested in tracking patterns and also looking at how some topics it was particularly interested in — like low-cost interventions to prevent disease including sunscreen or hand washing — were showing up on Twitter. The bottom line: Overall, physicians prioritized health education, the media paid a lot of attention to the business end of health care and lawmakers had their thumbs on the politics (Kenen, 2/26).

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