Ariz., Fla. Governors Face Intra-Party Opposition To Medicaid Expansion

News outlets reports that, in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott's support for the expansion was rebuffed by a Senate panel that voted against the expansion plan and instead is advancing an idea that would use federal money for private insurance. Meanwhile, in Arizona, Gov. Jan Brewer rolled out draft legislation to advance the Medicaid expansion, even though she was a vocal opponent of the health law.

Bloomberg: Republican Governors Face Party Opposition Over Medicaid
Republican governors pushing to expand Medicaid for the poor under President Barack Obama’s health-care law are facing opposition from their own party. In Florida, Republican Governor Rick Scott, 60, was rebuked by a Senate panel that voted yesterday against expanding Medicaid, instead deciding to craft a plan that would propose spending federal money for private insurance. A state House of Representatives committee voted March 4 against expanding Medicaid, an option for states made possible by Obama's Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Bender, 3/12).

Health News Florida: Big Medicaid Gamble Based On Letter
Florida's Republican legislative leaders say they believe they can get full federal funding for Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act, even though they propose to use it to buy subsidized private health insurance. If they are wrong, they will be giving up a huge windfall of federal funding, which state economists last week estimated at $51 billion over the next decade (Gentry, 3/13).

The New York Times' The Caucus: Arizona Governor Introduces Bill To Expand Medicaid
In her brief remarks, Ms. Brewer twice used the word "conservative" to describe Arizona's Medicaid program, a managed-care system whose cost per patient is $680 less than the national average, and the bill she was endorsing, which would extend Medicaid coverage to anyone who made up to 133 percent of the federal poverty line (Santos, 3/12).

Arizona Republic: Brewer Unveils Legislation To Broaden Medicaid Eligibility
Gov. Jan Brewer unveiled draft legislation Tuesday detailing her plans for expanding Medicaid, while putting a human face on the contentious issue in hopes of convincing skeptical GOP lawmakers whose votes she needs to get it approved. During a rally at the state Capitol designed to kick-start legislative debate over the governor’s proposal to broaden eligibility under federal health-care reform, Brewer said expansion would bring in billions of federal dollars and save the lives of people who would otherwise be without health coverage (Reinhart, 3/13).

The Associated Press: Gov. Brewer Rolls Out Medicaid Expansion Bill
Gov. Jan Brewer appealed to fellow Republicans Tuesday to back her proposed expansion of Arizona's Medicaid program by citing the party's opposition to abortion and painting the issue as another way to protect the sanctity of life. Brewer, who fought President Barack Obama's health care overhaul law but now is embracing one of its key provisions, said expanding the insurance to about 300,000 low-income Arizonans will save lives and prevent 50,000 childless adults now enrolled in the state program from losing coverage at the end of the year (3/12).

Meanwhile, in South Carolina and Alabama --

The Associated Press: House Defeats Medicaid Expansion
The South Carolina House on Tuesday rejected attempts by Democrats to extend Medicaid to hundreds of thousands of additional poor adults, before approving a $6.3 billion spending plan for state taxes. The House voted along party lines -- 73-45, 74-42, and 76-41 -- to defeat proposals expanding eligibility while the federal government covers all but some administrative costs (Adcox, 3/13).

The Associated Press: Bentley Backs Plan To Change Medicaid
Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday announced his support for changes to Alabama's Medicaid system that would affect one out of every five state residents. The Medicaid Advisory Commission advocates changing the basic operating model from a fee-for-service system to a managed care program (3/13).

Also in the news, a round of reports analyze the Medicaid expansion's impact on state budgets in Texas, Louisiana and Maine --

The Texas Tribune: Impact Of Medicaid Expansion On State Budget Examined
As state legislators consider what "a Texas solution" to Medicaid expansion would look like, others have begun addressing the question of how Medicaid expansion would affect the state budget and local taxes. With extra federal money coming in, Medicaid expansion could offset $1.2 billion in the 2014-15 biennium budget that Texas would spend on other health programs to cover poor populations, according to a report released Tuesday by Billy Hamilton, the state’s former budget estimator and former deputy comptroller (Aaronson, 3/12).

The Associated Press: Watchdog Group Pushes For More Study Of Medicaid Expansion
Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration has done too little research to back up the Republican governor's refusal to expand Louisiana's Medicaid program to cover more uninsured adults, a watchdog group said today. The Public Affairs Research Council of Louisiana urged Jindal and lawmakers to do more detailed analysis about the costs and benefits of an expansion before choosing to reject billions of dollars in federal health care money (Deslatte, 3/13).

The Associated Press: Report Backs Medicaid Expansion In Maine
Expanding Medicaid in Maine would stimulate $350 million in economic activity, create more than 3,100 jobs and generate as much as $18 million in state and local taxes annually, according to a policy report released Tuesday. But if Maine decides against expanding Medicaid, it stands to lose to other states the $256 million it could receive through the national health care law, while foregoing the other potential benefits, said Garrett Martin, executive director of the Maine Center for Economic Policy, a public policy research group that co-authored the report (Adams, 3/12).

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