Thousands of veterans affected by states' rejection of Medicaid expansion

An estimated quarter-million former service members would have been eligible for health coverage under the joint state-federal program but their states have opted not to participate in the expansion envisioned by the federal health law. Meanwhile in Iowa, hospitals were helpful in forging a compromise on the issue.

Stateline: A Quarter-Million Uninsured Vets Will Miss Out On Medicaid Expansion
More than a quarter-million veterans who lack health insurance will miss out on Medicaid coverage because they live in states that have declined to expand the program under the Affordable Care Act. Expanding Medicaid eligibility is a key component of the new federal health law, which aims to provide coverage to the vast majority of uninsured Americans. In January, uninsured adults with incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level ($15,415 for an individual and $32,527 for a family of four) will become eligible for Medicaid benefits in states that expand their programs (Ollove, 5/27).

Modern Healthcare: Hospitals In Iowa Help Break Medicaid Expansion Impasse
Iowa hospitals were key players in a last-minute "hybrid" deal to expand Medicaid, the second such legislatively approved deal in the country. The Iowa Medicaid expansion compromise, dubbed the Iowa Health and Wellness Plan, passed the Legislature on May 23 -- its final day -- and awaits the signature of Republican Gov. Terry Branstad. The deal overcame a legislative impasse between Senate Democrats -- who wanted a standard expansion to add more than 150,000 residents to the state's Medicaid program -- and House Republicans and Branstad -- who favored a smaller expansion of a more limited state-funded health program (Daly, 5/28).

Meanwhile, in Missouri --

St. Louis Beacon: With Medicaid Expansion Out Of Reach, Backers Work To Salvage Another Key Health Program
St. Louis and St. Louis County started a promising pilot program last year to extend medical care to more of their working poor. Called Gateway to Better Health, the program offered the uninsured the chance to trade costly emergency room health care for a better-coordinated system that links people to medical providers at health centers. ... Gateway was part of a larger effort to reach more of Missouri's medically needy in anticipation of plans to expand Missouri Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. But Gateway enrollees might be out of luck because state lawmakers refused to expand Medicaid (Joiner, 5/28).

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.



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