Medicaid expansion finds advocates, dueling candidates and roadblocks around America

The health law's Medicaid expansion -- and its cost to state bottom lines -- is making news among lawmakers, candidates and advocates in Kansas, Washington state, South Carolina and Arizona.

Kansas Health Institute News: Debate Begins On Possible Kansas Medicaid Expansion
A Kansas health consumer group is planning a post-election rally at the Statehouse in support of expanding the state's Medicaid program. Meanwhile, Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer today headlined an event in Overland Park that was sponsored by a conservative think tank that opposes broadening the Medicaid program. Colyer, however, didn't make explicit what intentions, if any, the administration of Gov. Sam Brownback might have with respect to the issue. Anna Lambertson, executive director of the Kansas Health Consumer Coalition, said the group "wants to get the dialogue started," on the potential benefits for Kansans, if policymakers here decide they will open up eligibility to include adults earning up to 133 percent of federal poverty guidelines (Ranney and Shields, 10/25).

Kaiser Health News: Candidates Talk Medicaid In Washington Governor's Race
Medicaid -- and how to expand the program -- has become an issue in the competitive governor's race in Washington State. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act went too far by requiring states to expand Medicaid or else lose all federal funding for the program that covers the poor and disabled" (de Luna, 10/25).

The Associated Press: SC Medicaid Director: Predictions Could Be Way Off
The director of South Carolina's Medicaid agency warned legislators Wednesday that the numbers of already-eligible residents signing up for the government program through 2014 could exceed estimates, further eating into state revenue. The Department of Health and Human Service's preliminary budget calls for an additional $194 million in 2013-14, which would eat up all projected additional state revenue (Adcox, 10/25).

Politico Pro: Arizona Wrestling With Feds Over Medicaid
Unlike many states, Arizona isn't too focused on whether to expand Medicaid. It's already done a big chunk of that expansion -; and now has to worry about how it can survive under the Affordable Care Act. Arizona already voluntarily covers many of the people who in other states would become newly eligible for Medicaid when the federal-state health care program for the poor expands in 2014. Whether Arizona will continue that coverage -; or even decide to broaden it to new Affordable Care Act levels -; is up in the air thanks to the Supreme Court decision making the law's Medicaid expansion optional (Millman, 10/26).

In the nation's capital, a Medicaid provider's finances come under scrutiny --

The Washington Post: Chartered Health Plan Irregularities Total $4 Million, D.C. Officials Say
The District's largest health care contractor had about $4 million in questionable financial transactions last year that went unreported to regulators until recently, District officials said Thursday (DeBonis, 10/25).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from 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.


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