A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Medicaid"

Va. House of Delegates plans to vote on Medicaid expansion

Laura Vozzella, Washington Post
Fri, 2014-09-19
"RICHMOND — Republican leaders of Virginia’s House of Delegates, who have staunchly opposed Medicaid expansion all year, plan to put the question to a floor vote as early as Thursday in a special legislative session. The GOP-dominated chamber is widely expected to shoot down the proposed $2 billion-a-year expansion, although a few conservative legislators have expressed fears that the measure might defy expectations and pass — just as a then-record tax hike did when Democrat Mark R. Warner was governor a decade ago."

The Problems With the Census Bureau’s New Estimates on How Many Americans Have Health Insurance

Edmund Haislmaier
The Heritage Foundation
Wed, 2014-09-17
"If you are looking for information on how Americans are engaging with the Affordable Care Act, the Census Bureau’s recently released latest annual estimates of health insurance coverage is probably not the place to look—at least for now. The Census Bureau, which derives its information on healthcare from the Annual Social and Economic Supplement—the same survey where it asks how many toilets, computers, microwaves, etc., people have in their homes—does provide some useful insights. It catalogues the demographic characteristics of the population based on participation in different types of health insurance coverage—government health care programs, private employer and individual plans, and the uninsured.

The Three Words That Shift Views On Medicaid

Marissa Evans, Morning Consult
Mon, 2014-09-15
"Three little words is all it takes to change voters’ minds about Medicaid expansion. Morning Consult polling shows using the term “Affordable Care Act” can make a difference in how a voter feels about expanding Medicaid. When asked if Medicaid should be expanded for low income adults below the federal poverty line, 71 percent of registered voters said yes. When asked if Medicaid should be expanded “as encouraged under the Affordable Care Act”, support dropped nine percentage points."

How states have gamed Medicaid for hundreds of millions of dollars

Josh Hicks, Washington Post
Mon, 2014-09-15
"States have developed various ways to avoid paying their fair share of Medicaid expenses over the years, in some cases costing the federal government hundreds of millions of dollars in extra funding for the program. The Department of Health and Human Services, which runs Medicaid through its Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), has known about the issue for more than a decade, but states still find ways to game the system. The agency’s inspector general this year listed the issue among 25 key problems the agency needs to address."

Obamacare Can’t Take Credit for Slower Health Spending Growth

Alyene Senger
Daily Signal
Fri, 2014-09-12
"Some of Obamacare’s big supporters say the new law has already contributed to decreases in the rate of growth of health spending. But a new report from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Office of the Actuary says the rate slowed because of a slow economic recovery, increased cost-sharing for those enrolled in private plans and sequestration. Indeed, the report does not even mention Obamacare when assessing the situation. “The recent period is marked by a four-year historically low rate of health spending growth, which is primarily attributable to the sluggish economic recovery and constrained state and local government budgets following the 2007-09 recession,” the report states."

MCOs continue to lose money in KanCare's second year

Andy Marso, Kansas Health Institute News Service
Thu, 2014-09-11
"TOPEKA — The three private insurance companies that administer the Kansas Medicaid program under KanCare lost $72.6 million in the first half of 2014, after losing $110 million in 2013. Rep. Jim Ward, a member of a KanCare oversight committee who requested the fiscal information from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, questioned Tuesday how long the three companies can sustain such losses. "These companies can’t keep subsidizing Medicaid to the tune of $100 or $150 million per year, and that’s what’s happening,” said Ward, D-Wichita. KanCare is the initiative launched by Gov. Sam Brownback on Jan. 1, 2013.

Arkansas Governor Leaks Premature ObamaCare Expansion Rates, Misleads Taxpayers

Jonathan Ingram, Nic Horton and Josh Archambault, Forbes
Thu, 2014-09-11
"Arkansas’ “Private Option” ObamaCare Medicaid expansion has been rough. Costs have run over budget every single month. The Medicaid director who spearheaded the program abruptly resigned to “pursue other opportunities.” The program’s chief legislative architect, a three-term Republican state representative, lost his primary for an open Senate seat to a political newcomer. And the Private Option is already prioritizing coverage for able-bodied adults over care for truly needy patients like Chloe Jones. News is so bad that Governor Beebe’s office is secretly trying to silence negative press about this failed ObamaCare experiment. Understandably, the Governor is pretty desperate for some good news. Unable to find any, it seems he decided instead to make it up. Beebe’s office sent out a self-congratulatory press release about next year’s Private Option premiums, hoping to salvage the program’s deteriorating image.

Immigrants: Computer glitch is stopping Medicaid

The Associated Press
Wed, 2014-09-10
"DETROIT-- A lawsuit has been filed on behalf of potentially thousands of immigrants who have been rejected for full Medicaid coverage in Michigan because of computer problems. The lawsuit in Detroit federal court says the state has known about the problem for weeks but is moving too slowly to fix it. Attorneys are asking a judge to issue an injunction to get things moving. The Center for Civil Justice in Flint says many immigrants are approved only for emergency services. The group says federal law typically grants full health coverage under Medicaid to low-income refugees and poor lawful permanent residents."

Rural Enrollment Presents Continuing Health Law Challenges

Shefali Luthra
Kaiser Health News
Mon, 2014-09-08
"Americans living in rural areas will be a key target as states and nonprofit groups strategize how to enroll more people in health law insurance plans this fall. Though millions of people signed up for private insurance or Medicaid in the first year of the Affordable Care Act, millions of others did not. Many live in rural areas where people “face more barriers,” said Laurie Martin, a RAND Corp. senior policy researcher. Brock Slabach, a senior vice president at the National Rural Health Association, said “the feds are particularly concerned about this.” Distance is one problem: Residents have to travel farther to get face-to-face assistance from the so-called navigators and assisters hired to help consumers figure out the process.

Missouri's Medicaid Applicants Get Put On Hold

Samantha Liss, St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Thu, 2014-09-04
"Enrolling in Missouri’s Medicaid program has not been easy. Many applicants have experienced a barrage of problems when trying to sign up for the program, including long delays until coverage kicks in, lost paperwork and a lack of one-on-one interaction with caseworkers. State officials have blamed a new computer system used to process Medicaid applications. But there is another reason why some Missourians struggle to get help. When Deborah Weaver, 28, had issues enrolling in the state’s Medicaid coverage for pregnant women, a switch from her Medicaid disability coverage, she was directed to use a toll-free number, 1-855-373-4636.

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