Stateline reports that seven states could still go either way on pursuing this element of the health law. Kaiser Health News examines Arkansas' approach, viewed by many as a "deal-making compromise" for some states. Meanwhile, Florida lawmakers may be out of time to reach a deal, while some Nebraska lawmakers are attempting to break a logjam. In Ohio, the sparring continues.
Stateline: Finish Line Fast Approaching On Medicaid Expansion
Ever since the U.S. Supreme Court ruled last summer that expanding Medicaid to more low-income people was optional for the states, the focus has turned to what Republican governors and GOP-controlled legislatures would do. Would they forego tens of millions of dollars in federal aid that would extend health insurance to many more people and, proponents argue, provide a major boost to state economies? Or would these governors, many of whom vowed not to expand, stand their ground and insist the federal government will not be able to afford the expansion? As of May 1, 16 states plus the District of Columbia have approved the expansion or are headed in that direction, 27 have rejected it or about to and seven states could still go either way (Ollove, 5/2).
Kaiser Health News: The Arkansas Medicaid Model: What You Need To Know About The 'Private Option'
The Obama administration wanted Republican states to accept the health law's Medicaid expansion pretty much as is. Republicans wanted Medicaid money in no-strings block grants. Arkansas has broached what could be a deal-making compromise, giving Washington the increased coverage for the poor it wants and Republicans something that looks less like government and more like business (Hancock, 5/1).
The New York Times: Florida Runs Out of Time On Medicaid
Prospects for Medicaid expansion in Florida, which was embraced, improbably, by the state's Republican governor in February, are all but dead this year (Alvarez and Sexton, 5/1).
Miami Herald: Sides Entrenched, Health Care Deal Likely Dead
Lawmakers are likely to return home this week without an agreement on meaningful health care reform, despite the early endorsement of Gov. Rick Scott and the pleas of businesses and hospitals. With two days remaining in the legislative session, Republicans in the House are no closer to caving on accepting $51 billion in federal health insurance aid (Mitchell, 5/1).
The Associated Press: Neb. Lawmakers Return To Stalled Medicaid Debate
Lawmakers attempted to break an impasse Wednesday on a stalled Medicaid expansion bill, with an appeal to rural senators whose districts include small-town hospitals. Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha raised the issue as lawmakers debated an unrelated bill. He was followed by several others who have led the push to expand coverage as part of the federal health care law (Schulte, 5/1).
Omaha World News: Backer Of Medicaid Expansion Uses Uncommon Legislative Maneuver To Revisit Issue
Nebraska's rural hospitals could be forced to close down or cut services if the state does not expand Medicaid, an expansion proponent said Wednesday. State Sen. Steve Lathrop of Omaha took time during debate about another bill to warn about what could be at stake if the controversial expansion measure remains stalled. "There is a downside to not doing this," he said. "It will be significant for rural Nebraska" (Stoddard, 5/2).
Columbus Dispatch: State Senator, Others Push For Medicaid Expansion
Considering the burden of uninsured hospital visits, the promise of thousands of new jobs and the potential cost in penalties on employers, Medicaid expansion "should be a no-brainer," Ohio Senate Minority Leader Eric Kearney said. "Politics has gotten in the way of good policy," the Cincinnati Democrat said, joined by the Cincinnati chamber of commerce and others who would be affected by a proposed expansion to cover those making 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Gov. John Kasich proposed the expansion in his two-year budget, but House Republicans stripped it out, instead pledging to introduce an alternative option in the fall. Senate GOP leaders also closed off any chance of dealing with it in the budget, instead saying they will work on a separate Medicaid reform bill (Siegel, 5/2).
Cincinnati Enquirer: Democrats: We'll Push Kasich Medicaid Expansion
Senate Democrats have introduced a bill that could pave the way to extending Medicaid coverage to hundreds of thousands low-income and working poor Ohioans, if the plan can land bipartisan support. The move comes less than a week after Republicans stripped the plan from the state's two-year budget proposal, an action that echoed a rejection of Medicaid expansion early in April by the House Republicans (Bernard-Kuhn, 5/1).