For Some State Legislatures, Medicaid Expansion Will Be A Hot 2014 Topic

News outlets also report on the continuing debate over how to proceed in Virginia and Nebraska.  

The Washington Post’s WonkBlog: The Four Most Important States To Watch On Obamacare's Medicaid Expansion
With state legislatures kicking off their 2014 sessions, the Medicaid expansion is back in play. Twenty-six states had signed onto the Medicaid expansion at the start of this year -- and that leaves nearly half the country deciding whether to make a go of it in the future. In some states, there's little discussion of the Medicaid expansion. There are states that rejected it in 2013 and will probably reject it in 2014. But in a handful of states, there's a debate slowly starting about the best way to move forward in this area. Here are a few states that Wonkblog will be keeping an eye on in coming months (Kliff, 1/29).

The Richmond Times-Dispatch:  VCU, U.Va. Health Systems Urge State To Expand Medicaid
The Virginia Commonwealth University and University of Virginia health systems say their ability to serve low-income patients and educate future doctors could be in jeopardy if the state fails to expand its Medicaid program to serve 250,000 uninsured Virginians who otherwise may end up in their emergency rooms. Officials for the academic medical centers estimated Wednesday that the state would save more than $1 billion over nine years if Virginia expands Medicaid this year and warned that they face more than $400 million in reduced federal subsidies for indigent care from mid-2016 to mid-2022. “The reductions in all of this create a critical shortfall, and filling the shortfall is of paramount importance if our academic health centers are going to remain true to our mission,” said Dr. Sheldon M. Retchin, chief executive officer of VCU Health System and senior vice present for health sciences, in a presentation to the House Appropriations Committee (Martz, 1/30).

The Associated Press: Backers Of Expanded Medicaid In Nebraska Pack Legislative Hearing To Push For New Proposal
A new bill to expand Medicaid drew support Wednesday from Nebraska health care providers and advocates for the poor but faced opposition from conservative taxpayer groups and Gov. Dave Heineman's administration. Supporters packed a legislative hearing at the Capitol and spoke for more than three hours in favor of the proposal, an optional piece of the federal health care law (Schulte, 1/29).

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