As prison inmates in Ohio gain their freedom, state officials are trying to get many of them enrolled in health coverage for low-income people. In Virginia, where the General Assembly is at an impasse on the budget because of the dispute over expanding Medicaid, hospitals seek to convey their message about the economic costs.
Columbus Dispatch: State's Inmates Going On Medicaid
After serving their time, many Ohio prison inmates will be released with more than street clothes and a few bucks in their pocket. They're likely to leave with health insurance. State officials are helping inmates enroll in Medicaid, as they are now eligible for coverage under Gov. John Kasich's expansion of the tax-funded health-care program (Candisky, 4/20).
The Richmond Times-Dispatch: Community Hospitals On Front Line Of Medicaid Battle
For the second time in its 60-year history, Community Memorial Healthcenter is looking at a budget this year that's going to be written in red ink. ... The affiliation agreement announced earlier this month between Community Memorial and VCU will help the local hospital improve its bottom line and access to quality health care in the region, but it won't solve the problem of how to make a profit at an institution with patients that are predominantly elderly, poor or uninsured. For [CEO W. Scott] Burnette and other hospital administrators, one obvious solution is for Virginia to accept billions of dollars in federal funds to expand health coverage of uninsured patients, either through Medicaid or a private insurance alternative, under the Affordable Care Act (Martz, 4/19).
And in Washington and North Carolina --
The Seattle Times: Progress, Challenges As Medicaid Rolls Swell In State
Washington state has blown past its targets for signing up new Medicaid participants under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The program's ranks have grown roughly 25 percent in the past six months, helping fulfill one of the act's key goals to provide health care to nearly all Americans. By the end of March, more than 285,000 adults who are newly eligible to participate in Medicaid had signed up for coverage. That's twice the number officials had hoped to reach by then, and a target they hadn't expected to hit for three more years (Stiffler, 4/18).
North Carolina Health Report: Minorities More Likely to Fall Into ACA Coverage Gap
In states such as North Carolina decided not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, the percentage of minorities who remain uninsured will be higher than that of whites. According to experts, because many minority groups are not qualifying for marketplace insurance, it will be even more difficult to improve public-health outcomes in those populations (Porter-Rockwell, 4/21).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.