Medicaid Expansion Compromise Fails In Nebraska Legislature

This "carefully crafted" approach fell short of the needed support, but its backers vow to return next year with a new proposal. News outlets also provide updates on expansion efforts in Nevada, Virginia and Ohio.  

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog: Nebraska Rejects Compromise Effort To Expand Medicaid
Nebraska legislators spent the past year crafting a conservative version of Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion that they hoped would gain support in a pretty red state. But after a failed vote in the state legislature Wednesday, the Medicaid expansion is officially dead in Nebraska this year. So far, 25 states and Washington, DC.., have expanded their Medicaid programs in 2014, the first year of Obamacare coverage. With some exceptions, these are mostly blue states that joined the expansion, which was made optional by the Supreme Court’s 2012 decision on the health care law (Millman, 3/19).

Lincoln (Neb.) Journal Star: Supporters Short Of Votes To Expand Medicaid
A change in a Medicaid expansion proposal from last year had given Lincoln Sen. Kathy Campbell hope. It included elements supporters thought last year's opponents wanted. And it was tailored for Nebraska. But this year's bill (LB887) didn't persuade any more senators to join the supporters' inner circle. In fact, a few may have sidled away. An attempt to force a vote on the bill Wednesday morning fizzled 27-21. Thirty-three votes were needed. Only 25 would have been needed to move the bill forward without the filibuster (Young, 3/19).

Omaha World-Herald: Effort To Expand Health Coverage To More Low-Income Nebraskans Dead For The Year
An effort to expand government-funded health coverage to more low-income Nebraskans is dead for this year. But legislative supporters were only temporarily deterred. After failing to end a filibuster Wednesday on the expansion proposal, key senators vowed to return with a new proposal next session (Stoddard, 3/20).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: No Sign Of Movement On Medicaid Debate
There’s still no sign of any compromise between Democratic Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Republican leaders in the House of Delegates over whether Virginia should accept federal Medicaid funds in order to expand health insurance coverage to as many as 400,000 low-income residents. McAuliffe, who wants to expand Medicaid eligibility, and House Republican leaders, who don’t, said Wednesday that there had been no movement on the issue after meeting to discuss an upcoming special legislative session (3/19).

The Associated Press: Nevada Medicaid Enrollments Soar
Nevada Medicaid enrollments under federal health care reform have surpassed initial projections and are on pace to reach 500,000 by summer, a mark initially not expected to be reached until the end of the 2015 fiscal year, a state official said. Mike Willden, director of the Department of Health and Human Services, said his agency has a 60,000 backlog of pending Medicaid applications and he may need to speed up hiring to keep up with the demand (Chereb, 3/19).

Columbus Dispatch: Obamacare Website Snafus Slowing Ohio Medicaid Sign-Ups
Since Ohio decided to expand Medicaid under the federal health-care law last fall, 200,000 low-income residents have applied for coverage. Three-fourths of the requests were submitted in the past two months, as the March 31 deadline nears for signing up for insurance under the health-care law. Ohio Medicaid spokesman Sam Rossi said 80 percent of the applications have been processed. However, county caseworkers have not been able to process any of the additional 106,000 applications submitted to the problem-ridden federal online exchange, Healthcare.gov, that seem to meet eligibility requirements. They were supposed to be transferred electronically to the state, but the federal system still has not worked as intended (Candisky, 3/20).

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