Medicaid 'Coverage Gap' Causing Anxiety In Non-Expansion States

In states that decide not to expand Medicaid under the health law, more than 5 million people may be left without coverage. Oregon's expansion has already lowered the number of people there without coverage. Exchange issues are also examined in Maryland, Florida, Ohio and Alabama.

Bloomberg: Push Against Obamacare Leaves 5 Million Without Coverage
Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and South Carolina will be particularly hard-hit, as those southern states will fail to provide coverage to at least one-third of uninsured adults, according to a report from the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured. ... Once the [Supreme] court struck down the mandate to expand Medicaid, poor workers in states that elected not to broaden their programs had nowhere to turn, the commission said in its report. They don’t earn enough to get the tax credits and they aren’t poor enough to qualify for Medicaid under the current eligibility level (Cortez, 10/18).

The Oregonian: Oregon Cuts Tally Of People Lacking Health Insurance By 10 Percent In Two Weeks 
Though Oregon's health insurance exchange is not yet up and running, the number of uninsured is already dropping thanks to new fast-track enrollment for the Oregon Health Plan. The low-income, Medicaid-funded program has already signed up 56,000 new people, cutting the state's number of uninsured by 10 percent, according to Oregon Health Authority officials. Though the new exchange called Cover Oregon was originally intended to be used for Oregon Health Plan enrollment, the online marketplace doesn't work yet. Instead, new Oregon Health Plan members are being enrolled using a fast-track process that was approved by the federal government in August (Budnick, 10/17).

Miami Herald: After Saying No To Feds On Medicaid Expansion, Florida May Ask For More Money
Months after Florida lawmakers rejected $51 billion from the federal government to expand Medicaid, state officials are prepared to request billions in new federal aid for a different program to improve care for the poor, uninsured and under-insured. But this cash grab, for whatever reason, has yet to ignite a political furor. ... State officials want to grow Florida's Low Income Pool (LIP) program from $1 billion a year to possibly $3 billion a year (Mitchell, 10/17).

Columbus Dispatch: House Republicans May Sue Over Kasich's Medicaid Expansion
House Republicans are preparing to potentially sue GOP Gov. John Kasich over taking Medicaid expansion to the state Controlling Board, and they would base their lawsuit on the arguments laid out in a formal protest they filed yesterday. Thirty-nine GOP representatives signed a letter in protest of Kasich’s plan to ask the seven-member legislative-spending oversight panel on Monday to approve $2.56 billion in federal money over two years to cover about 275,000 more poor Ohioans under Medicaid (Siegel and Vardon, 10/17).

Al.com/Birmingham News: Medicaid Expansion Rejection Leaves Alabama's Largest City With "Patchwork" Safety Net Under Obamacare
Alabama's rejection of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare leaves Birmingham's low-income and uninsured adults with a weak safety net, according to a study out today. Little insurance regulation, a dominant insurer in Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Alabama and a dominating provider in the University of Alabama at Birmingham are all factors in the city's future under the Affordable Care Act, the study said (Oliver, 10/17).

In Wyoming, officials consider managed care as a way to cut costs in the Medicaid system - 

Casper Star-Tribune: Wyoming Eyes More Medicaid Changes
More changes may be in store for Wyoming Medicaid as lawmakers look to cut costs in one of the state’s most expensive programs. The state Department of Health is already redesigning its Medicaid eligibility system, as well as a program that pays for disability services. Now it’s exploring what could be the biggest modification yet: altering how it manages health care for the roughly 90,000 poor and medically needy people who use Medicaid annually (Wolfson, 10/17).

This is part of Kaiser Health News' Daily Report - a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day's news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.