States Encouraged To Use Medicaid Expansion Money To Buy Private Insurance For Poor

The New York Times reports that the White House is encouraging skeptical state officials to expand Medicaid by using federal money to subsidize the purchase of private insurance for low-income people -- a model not envisioned by drafters of the law. Meanwhile, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius predicts that Republican governors will eventually expand the program.

The New York Times: States Urged To Expand Medicaid With Private Insurance
The White House is encouraging skeptical state officials to expand Medicaid by subsidizing the purchase of private insurance for low-income people, even though that approach might be somewhat more expensive, federal and state officials say (Pear, 3/21).

USA Today: Sebelius: GOP Governors Will Eventually Expand Medicaid
Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislatures will eventually decide to expand Medicaid in their states because the financial benefits are too big to ignore, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview Thursday with USA TODAY. … Sebelius … said governors are talking with hospital and patients groups within their states and beginning to understand the economic advantages of Medicaid expansion. Not only would more people have basic coverage, but the number of unpaid hospitalizations would be dramatically reduced, Sebelius said. She cited research that shows the average American pays an extra $1,000 a year in insurance premiums to cover costs of the uninsured at hospitals (Kennedy, 3/21).

In state-level news -

Kansas Health Institute: Senate Budget Amendment Underscores Opposition To Medicaid Expansion
The budget bill that passed the Senate today includes an amendment that would bar state agencies from spending any money to expand eligibility for the Kansas Medicaid program without the express consent of the Legislature (Ranney, 3/21).

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