Private Insurance Twist On Medicaid Expansion May Make 'Obamacare' Palatable To Conservatives

Some GOP state lawmakers, especially those who do not favor expanding the health insurance program for the poor, appear to be warming to this notion. Meanwhile, media outlets offer related updates from Arkansas, Florida and Mississippi.

CNN Money: States Eye Private Insurance For Medicaid Expansion Enrollees
Republican state lawmakers may not want to expand Medicaid, but some are warming up to the idea of using federal funds to buy private insurance for the poor. That twist is keeping alive the possibility of broadening Medicaid coverage in states where conservative legislators are bucking their governors' acceptance of the optional -- and controversial -- Affordable Care Act provision. Republican governors in at least eight states have agreed to Medicaid expansion, which would extend coverage to all adults with income below 138% of the poverty line. It's part of the Obama administration's push for universal insurance, and the federal government is dangling a big carrot to make it happen. It will cover each state's expansion costs in full for the first three years. After that, states will be responsible for no more than 10% of the tab (Luhby, 3/20).

Reuters: Analysis: Arkansas Republicans Seek An Acceptable 'Obamacare'
Two Republican state senators from Arkansas may soon accomplish what seasoned Washington politicians couldn't: make the main provisions of President Barack Obama's healthcare overhaul palatable to hard-core conservatives. Jonathan Dismang and David Sanders, with two colleagues from the state House, believe they have come up with an alternative to the Medicaid expansion, as laid out in the law (Morgan, 3/19).

The Associated Press: Fla. Senators Reveal Medicaid Expansion Plan
The decision to offer Medicaid coverage to roughly 1 million Florida residents under the federal health law is triggering partisan bickering amid competing proposals to pass up billions of federal dollars entirely or to accept the money, but funnel it into private insurance. A week after House and Senate committees in the Republican-led legislature vetoed expanding Medicaid, two very different Medicaid expansion proposals are emerging in the Senate (Kennedy and Fineout, 3/19).

The Associated Press: Dems: Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Will Hurt State's Rating
Mississippi House Democrats said yesterday that the state could hurt its own financial standing if it rejects Medicaid expansion, but Republican Gov. Phil Bryant said he's not convinced that would happen and he still opposes putting more people on the government health program. Democrats pointed to a statement made last week by Moody's Investors Service, which is one of the financial firms that ranks the creditworthiness of Mississippi and other states (3/19).

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