Activists, Lawmakers Wrestle With Medicaid Expansion

This aspect of the health law is a hot topic in Texas, Florida, California and Missouri -- among other places. Meanwhile, a Medicare trustee questions the viability of the federal funding commitment.

The Hill: Medicare Trustee Doubts Future Funding For Medicaid Expansion
A Medicare trustee is questioning whether the federal government will maintain its commitment to foot most of the cost of expanding Medicaid under the healthcare law. Charles Blahous released a report Monday cautioning states to "consider the likelihood that federal financing support may be ultimately reduced from current schedules" (Viebeck, 3/5).

The New York Times: Texans Rebut Governor On Expansion Of Medicaid
Hundreds of activists and uninsured Texans plan to rally at the steps of the Capitol here Tuesday, increasing the pressure on Gov. Rick Perry and other Republican leaders to switch their stance on expanding Medicaid, a major provision of President Obama's health care overhaul (Fernandez, 3/4).

The Associated Press: GOP Caucus In Texas House Rejects Medicaid Expansion
Republicans in the Texas House voted Monday against expanding Medicaid in its current form, but left open the door to negotiations with the federal government. The House Republican Caucus met behind closed doors and voted against expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act's current regulations, said Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, Republican chairwoman of the Public Health Committee. In return for spending $15 billion over the next 10 years on Medicaid, Texas would get $100 billion to provide health care to an additional 1.5 million poor people (Tomlinson and Weissert, 3/4).

Los Angeles Times: Key Senate Panel Approves Medi-Cal Expansion
A key Senate panel supported legislation Monday that would dramatically expand Medi-Cal, the state's public insurance program for the poor. The proposal, authored by state Sen. Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) and Senate leader Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento), is part of a legislative package that aims to help California implement President Obama's healthcare overhaul (Mishak, 3/4).

Kaiser Health News: Capsules: Florida House Panel Opposes Medicaid Expansion
The Florida House of Representatives has signaled it won't go along with Gov. Rick Scott to expand Medicaid coverage to more than a million low-income Floridians under the Affordable Care Act. The party-line vote came Monday shortly after a joint committee hearing on the law's financial impact on the state (Hatter, 3/4).

The Associated Press: House Panel Rejects Medicaid Expansion In Florida
A key legislative panel voted on Monday against expanding Medicaid coverage to roughly 1 million more residents under the federal health overhaul, expressing fears that the federal government would ultimately back out of paying its share and leave the state on the hook for billions. The vote was strictly partisan, with House Republicans contending that the state’s current safety net program — which costs about $21 billion a year to cover more than 3 million Floridians — is already broken and that adding more patients would only exacerbate problems while increasing the federal deficit (3/5).

Health News Florida: House Panel Rejects Medicaid Expansion
Only a few hours after Florida's chief economist said the state can't afford to leave billions of federal dollars sitting on the table, the House committee on the Affordable Care Act voted to do exactly that. The vote fell along party lines, as the Republicans on the committee said they didn't trust the federal government to come through with the money, given the state of the federal budget. They also expressed an extreme distaste for the Medicaid program, saying it's far inferior to private insurance (Gentry, 3/4).

Health News Florida: 'This Decision Will Impact Floridians For Decades'
There was an uncommonly stirring debate Monday in the House Select Committee on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act before the 10 to 5 party-line vote killing the Medicaid expansion plan (Pusateri, 3/4).

St. Louis Beacon: Doctors, Police Join Gov .Nixon In Calling For Expanding Medicaid To Boost Services For The Mentally Ill In Missouri
When Gov. Jay Nixon decided to visit the Metropolitan St. Louis Psychiatric Center to make a case for expanding Medicaid, few people in the audience were more pleased than Dr. Roy Wilson, the center's medical director. He says the visit helped to shed more light on the fact that facilities like his often lack the money for services to head off the adverse consequences of being mentally ill and uninsured (Joiner, 3/5).

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