States Wrestle With Medicaid Expansion Challenges

Application backlogs are an issue in Missouri and South Carolina. In Florida, a medical association makes clear its support for expanding the low-income health insurance program, and in Georgia, Gov. Nathan Deal carves out a limited exception to his opposition to expanding Medicaid.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch: Missourians Still Face Delays Seeking Medicaid Coverage
More than 12,000 applications transferred to Missouri’s Medicaid program from the federal health insurance exchange are still being processed. In February, the Post-Dispatch first reported on the difficulties facing Missourians who were trying to enroll in Medicaid through HealthCare.gov. A deluge of applications as well as software compatibility issues between the federal exchange and the state’s Medicaid computer systems created a huge backlog (Liss, 7/29).

Charleston Post and Courier: South Carolina Medicaid Backlog Leaves Thousands In Insurance Limbo
Thousands of South Carolina residents who filed for Medicaid between October and mid-July are still waiting to find out if they qualify for the government's low-income health insurance program. While most Medicaid applications are typically approved or denied within six days, the state agency responsible for processing the paperwork hasn't been able to keep pace with an influx from healthcare.gov. More than 43,000 South Carolina Medicaid applications were submitted through the new federal health insurance marketplace between Oct. 1 and July 13, but the S.C. Department of Health and Human Services has only managed to make its way through 25 percent of them (Sausser, 7/28).

Health News Florida: Florida Medical Association Supports Medicaid Expansion
The Florida Medical Association's House of Delegates overwhelmingly adopted a resolution supporting Medicaid expansion to cover uninsured low-income adults at FMA's annual meeting on Sunday, according  to doctors who were there. FMA issued a statement on Monday, quoting General Counsel Jeff Scott, confirming passage of the resolution but adding that support for Medicaid expansion is contingent on the state providing enough pay for doctors who treat Medicaid patients to make such care possible (Gentry, 7/28). 

Tampa Bay Times: Florida Medical Association Members Vote To Support Medicaid Expansion
For the first time, members of the Florida Medical Association have approved a resolution endorsing Medicaid expansion, a politically contentious issue that the group's leaders have generally avoided in the past two legislative sessions. But the FMA's full-throated support for expansion comes with a caveat: Medicaid reimbursement rates must be increased to attract more doctors to the program (Tillman, 7/28).

Atlanta Journal Constitution: Gov. Nathan Deal Makes A (Very Limited) Exception To His Stance Against Medicaid Expansion
Gov. Nathan Deal has gone to great lengths to assure his supporters that he’s against the expansion of Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But he carved out one exception this week. It has to do with the more than 1,100 unaccompanied immigrant children transferred by the feds this year to the care of sponsors living in Georgia. The influx comes amid a surge of Central American children fleeing instability and violence at home to illegally cross the southwest border (Bluestein, 7/29).

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