In North Carolina, lawmakers passed legislation barring the state from expanding the program for the poor, while in Pennsylvania, Kansas and West Virginia, supporters are pressing the economic and political advantages of the health law provision made optional by the Supreme Court.
The Associated Press: NC Lawmakers Vote To Bar Medicaid Expansion
North Carolina lawmakers approved a bill Tuesday barring the state from expanding Medicaid under the federal health care overhaul. Gov. Pat McCrory, a Republican, has indicated he'll sign the GOP-backed bill when it reaches his desk (Biesecker, 2/26).
The Associated Press: Pa. Democrats Build Medicaid Pressure On Corbett
Pressure on Gov. Tom Corbett grew Tuesday to accept the federal government's offer to fund the lion's share of a massive Medicaid expansion now that Pennsylvania is virtually surrounded by states that are getting in line, including states run by Corbett's fellow Republican governors. Democrats seized on New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie's decision to embrace the Medicaid expansion as an opportunity to paint Corbett and Pennsylvania as increasingly isolated from a growing group of states that will accept billions of federal health care dollars to help hospitals and doctors care for millions of uninsured people (Levy, 2/26).
Kansas Health Institute: Hospital Association Poll Shows Most Kansans Support Medicaid Expansion
A majority of Kansans support expanding Medicaid to help low-income people gain health coverage, according to a poll done in December for the Kansas Hospital Association and released this week. According to the survey results, 60 percent of the state's residents would support expanding Medicaid to include persons earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level – $15,420. Expansion was opposed by 24 percent of those surveyed and 16 percent said they weren’t sure (McLean, 2/26).
The Associated Press: Groups Say Expanded Medicaid Will Add W.Va. Jobs
Expanding Medicaid will do more than provide coverage to 100,000 West Virginians, supporters of the federal health care overhaul argued Tuesday: It would also create 6,200 jobs while spreading $664 million through the state’s economy by 2016. The advocacy group Families USA hired Regional Economic Model Inc. to develop the estimates, and presented the findings with West Virginians For Affordable Health Care at a state Capitol press conference (Messina, 2/27).
The Associated Press: Branstad Calls DC Meeting On Medicaid 'Cordial'
Gov. Terry Branstad said Tuesday that he had a "cordial" recent meeting with the U.S. health secretary about his decision not to expand Medicaid in Iowa and will soon give the federal government his full proposal that aims to instead extend another program set to expire later this year. The Republican governor said he pressed Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius at their meeting Friday in Washington for a federal waiver to continue IowaCare, which provides limited health benefits to some 70,000 low-income adults in the state using state and federal funding (Lucey, 2/26).
Meanwhile, on state-based exchanges -
The Associated Press: Bill Would Lift Gag On Discussing N.H. Health Care Exchange
New Hampshire's new Democratic House majority is considering reversing a law banning the state from operating its own health care exchange under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law. The House Commerce and Consumer Affairs Committee held a hearing Tuesday on a bill that would reverse a Republican-passed law that prohibits the state from operating a health exchange (Love, 2/26).
California Healthline: Bridge Plan Approved By Exchange Board
California's Health Benefit Exchange board yesterday approved a plan to seamlessly allow the lowest-income Medi-Cal managed care beneficiaries to choose a health plan offered by the exchange, now known as Covered California. The idea is to allow movement between Medi-Cal and Covered California when beneficiaries' circumstances change, so more people can stay insured without disruption. The exchange plans to launch the program in April 2014. Up to 840,000 Californians could be eligible for it, according to David Panush, director of government relations for Covered California (Gorn, 2/27).