Ohio might join ranks of red states opting for Medicaid expansion

John Kasich, the state's Republican governor, hints to The Cincinnati Enquirer that he might call for this step in his two-year budget plan, expected to be released in the next few days.

USA Today/The Cincinnati Enquirer: Ohio Governor Weighs Medicaid Expansion
Ohio could be among a growing contingent of Republican-led states leaning toward expanding Medicaid coverage for hundreds of thousands of low-income residents. In an interview with The Cincinnati Enquirer this week, Ohio Gov. John Kasich hinted he would call for expanding the joint federal-state health care program for poor and disabled in his pending two-year budget proposal, which is due Monday (Bernard-Kuhn, 1/30).

The Associated Press: Where Ohioans Stand On Medicaid Expansion In State
A look at where Ohio's political leaders, health industry organizations and others stand on expanding Medicaid benefits. Gov. John Kasich is to announce Feb. 4 whether he'll push for expansion (Seewer, 1/30).

MPR News: Expanded Medicaid Eligibility Could Cover Additional 145,000 Minnesotans
Gov. Mark Dayton's plan to expand eligibility for Medicaid in Minnesota would provide health coverage for an additional 145,000 Minnesotans, including 47,000 children, said Minnesota's Human Services Commissioner. Medicaid is a joint federal state safety net program that serves low-income, disabled and vulnerable residents. It's called Medical Assistance in Minnesota. The expansion plan would raise income limits and cover some childless adults. Last summer, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could opt out of the expansion. But Commissioner Lucinda Jesson said the legislature should approve the plan because it covers more Minnesotans and is a good deal for taxpayers (Stawicki, 1/30).

The Hill: HHS Clarifies Exemptions From Individual Mandate In States That Buck Medicaid Expansion
As the Obama administration took new steps Wednesday to implement the healthcare law's individual mandate, it clarified an exemption for people whose governors don't take part in the expanded Medicaid program. The law's unpopular individual mandate requires most taxpayers to either buy health insurance or pay a penalty to the IRS. But there are several exceptions to the policy, and the Health and Human Services Department emphasized those carve-outs in newly issued regulations Wednesday (Baker, 1/30).

North Carolina Health News: Legislators Reject State Implementation Of Obamacare
On their first day back in session, North Carolina Senate Republicans introduced a bill yesterday to opt out of several provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, scheduled to go into effect next year. Senate Bill 4, introduced by senators Tom Apodaca (R-Henderson), Harry Brown (R-Onslow) and Bob Rucho (R-Mecklenburg), would exempt the state from establishing a state-run health insurance exchange or a federal-state partnership exchange. The bill would rule also out expansion of the state's Medicaid program (Sisk, 1/31). 

The Associated Press: Update: N.C. Lawmakers Want To Stop Online Insurance Market
Republicans in control of the General Assembly introduced legislation today that would block the expansion of Medicaid under the health care overhaul and leave it to the federal government to build the state's online marketplace for health insurance. Under the health overhaul championed by President Barack Obama, the federal government offered to pay the full cost for expanding Medicaid coverage the first three years and 90 percent thereafter (Dalesio, 1/30).

Meanwhile, on the topic of state-based health exchanges --

MPR News: Brokers Could Be Paid Directly By Insurance Carriers Under Exchange Amendment
A Minnesota Senate committee handed insurance brokers a victory today in a long-running skirmish over the state's new health insurance marketplace. Brokers who sell policies on the state's exchange could be paid directly by insurance carriers under an amendment the commerce committee approved Wednesday. But, brokers would have to disclose the payment arrangement to consumers. In the original bill, the exchange would withhold a portion of premiums paid and then decide how much to pay the brokers (Stawicki, 1/30).

Fox News: Administration Scrambling To Set Up ObamaCare Exchanges
The Obama administration continues to scramble in an effort to convince states to create their own so-called insurance exchanges, which were established under the health care overhaul. But so far, 25 states have rejected the idea -- forcing the federal government to do it instead. "They've essentially said to the federal government, 'we don't ... really want to be a part of trying to clean up this train wreck we see coming'," said Jim Capretta of the Ethics and Public Policy Center (Angle, 1/30).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis 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.




The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News-Medical.Net.
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