Medicaid Expansion: Maine Looks At Another Plan; Advocates Lobby N.H., Missouri Lawmakers

States wrestle with the issue of expanding their Medicaid programs under the federal health law.

Bangor Daily News: Another Plan To Expand Medicaid In Maine Heads To Lawmakers
Another proposal to expand the state's Medicaid program is headed to the full Legislature after a committee vote Thursday afternoon in favor of expanding eligibility for the low-income health insurance program as allowed under the federal Affordable Care Act. The Legislature's Health and Human Services Committee voted 10-4 to send a Medicaid expansion bill to the House floor. The committee vote broke down the same way as a vote two weeks ago in which the panel voted to link Medicaid expansion with repayment of the state’s $484 million debt to its hospitals (Stone, 5/31). 

CQ HealthBeat: Maine's GOP Governor Criticizes Federal Offer On Medicaid 
Maine's Republican governor says Washington won't recognize his state's previous generosity when it comes to negotiations on a Medicaid expansion. But federal officials say they are doing all they can under the terms of the health law to pick up more of the tab. Gov. Paul R. LePage has been at loggerheads with his legislature — and other interests in the state — over whether to expand Medicaid. On Thursday, he issued a statement criticizing the latest offer by Centers for Medicare and Medicaid officials that would meet some, but not all, of his demands (Adams, 5/30).

The Associated Press: Expand Medicaid, N.H. Urged 
Organizations that provide free or low-cost health care and mental health services across New Hampshire again urged the Legislature on Thursday to approve expanding Medicaid coverage to the state's poorest adults. New Hampshire's current Medicaid program covers low-income children, pregnant women, parents with children, elders and people with disabilities, but the state is deciding whether to expand it to include anyone under age 65 who earns up to 138 percent of federal poverty guidelines, which is about $15,000 for a single adult (5/30).

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: House Speaker Faces Medicaid Expansion Advocates At Tour's Stop In Columbia
As he continued on his tour across the state, House Speaker Tim Jones was greeted in Columbia [Missouri] today by about a dozen protesters who believe the Legislature should have expanded Missouri’s Medicaid program this session (Crisp, 5/30). 

Kansas Health Institute: Kansans With Mental Illness Would Benefit From Medicaid Expansion
If the state expands its Medicaid program, more than 21,000 uninsured Kansans who are also known to be mentally ill would have access to the care they need, according to a report released today by the National Alliance on Metal Illness (Ranney, 5/30).

The New York Times: Policy Lesson From Texas (Video)
Evan Smith, editor in chief of The Texas Tribune, on how the 83rd Texas legislative session may inform the national debate on Medicaid expansion, immigration policy and the Tea Party (Gerdau and Dehn, 5/30).

Meanwhile, some state officials are concerned about another part of the changes to Medicaid contained in the federal health law.

CQ HealthBeat: State Medicaid Leaders See Challenges In Covering The Dual Eligibles 
State Medicaid officials Thursday questioned whether the national experiment to find a better way to coordinate care for people eligible for Medicare and Medicaid will be worth the effort and time the pilot program is taking. The state leaders also talked about their concerns over implementing the health care law and dealing with a shortage of primary care doctors willing to accept Medicaid patients (Adams, 5/30).

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