Medicaid, CHIP enrollments top 7 million

The Department of Health and Human Services reported Friday that 7.2 million people gained insurance through these programs since the health law's eligibility changes began last October. In addition, Arkansas and New Hampshire offer snapshots of their states' enrollment pictures, while Kansas and Missouri hospitals brace for the price of state decisions not to expand the low-income health insurance program.

The Hill: Medicaid Enrollments Top 7M Under O-Care
Medicaid and CHIP sign-ups have exceeded 7 million since Obamacare's new coverage options opened for enrollment last October, the government reported Friday. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced that 7.2 million people have gained health insurance through Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both designed to serve families with lower incomes (Viebeck, 8/8).

Reuters: New Medicaid Enrollments Top 7 Million Under Obamacare
More than seven million Americans have gained health coverage through government programs including Medicaid since enrollment in Obamacare health insurance was launched Oct. 1, the U.S. administration said on Friday. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) said 7.2 million new participants in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program by June brought overall Medicaid enrollment to 66 million people. The enrollees include uninsured Americans who gained coverage through traditional Medicaid, as well as a special Medicaid expansion in 26 of the 50 U.S. states under President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act (8/8).

The Associated Press: More Than 192,000 in Arkansas Signed Up For Medicaid
The Arkansas Department of Human Services says nearly 8,000 more Arkansans were approved for coverage under the state's expanded Medicaid program last month. That brings the total number to 192,210 signed up for the program. Arkansas' expanded Medicaid program was authorized by the 2010 federal healthcare overhaul law and approved by the Legislature last year (8/10).

Concord Monitor: About 8,200 Enrolled In Medicaid Expansion Since July
A month since applications for the New Hampshire Health Protection Program went live, it has attracted about one-sixth of the 50,000 people the state estimated would be eligible for expanded Medicaid benefits. So far, officials said they're not worried about the pace of enrollment; they expect it to pick up in the months ahead as the department ramps up its outreach efforts (McDermott, 8/9).

Kansas Health Institute News Service: Rejection Of Medicaid Expansion Costing Kansas, Missouri Hospitals Billions
A new study by the Urban Institute says that not expanding Medicaid will cost hospitals in Kansas and Missouri more than $9 billion over a 10-year period. The analysis from the nonpartisan research organization pegs the loss to Kansas hospitals at $2.6 billion between 2013 and 2022. Missouri hospitals would forfeit $6.8 billion over the same period. Hospitals in the 24 states that have so far declined to expand Medicaid to cover more low-income adults would lose a combined total of $167.8 billion (McLean, 8/8).

Meanwhile, Medicaid expansion is a campaign issue in Florida and Virginia --

The Associated Press: Medicaid Expansion Talk Key In Fla. Governors Race
Expanding Medicaid to an additional 1 million Floridians under President Barack Obama's new health law is turning into one of the biggest issues of this year's gubernatorial race. Former Gov. Charlie Crist brings up the topic on most campaign stops and says one of the first things he'll do if elected is call a special session to expand Medicaid. His opponent, incumbent Republican Gov. Rick Scott, seems to be waning in his support. Scott says he's open to taking roughly $51 billion over the next decade from the federal government, but only as long as Florida taxpayers aren't left with the bill (Kennedy, 8/9).

Tampa Bay Times: Scott Affirms Support For Medicaid Expansion But Sticks To Pro-Business Principles On Health Policy
In an interview with the Times/[Miami] Herald Friday, Scott reaffirmed his support for Florida taking $51 billion in federal money to provide health insurance for up to 1 million poor Floridians. And he said he sees no contradiction in the positions he has taken. "While they spend 100 percent, I'm not going to stand in the way of the federal government doing something," he said. "What I'm not willing to do is put Florida taxpayers on the hook. … I've been very consistent and let's all remember that Obamacare is an absolute bad bill for patients, for families, for employers, for employees" (Mitchell, 8/8). 

The Associated Press: Crist Opponents Question His Political Conversion
Crist's reputation for being a say-anything-for-a-vote politician isn't new. … President Barack Obama's health care overhaul: As a Republican Senate candidate in 2009, Crist said Obama's plan was "cockamamie" and "nuts" and demanded its repeal; as a 2010 independent Senate candidate, Crist said there were positive things about the law and it should be fixed, not repealed; as a 2014 Democratic gubernatorial candidate, he says it's "great" (8/10).

Bristol Herald Courier/Roanoke Times: Special Election Will Affect Debate Over Medicaid Expansion
Medicaid expansion continues to be a hot-button issue in the 38th District Virginia Senate race, as candidates try to define their positions on a subject that has divided the district -- and the state -- since the seat was vacated unexpectedly earlier this year. The June resignation of former Sen. Phillip Puckett, D-Russell County, threw the balanced Senate into Republican control and affected the Senate vote on whether to expand Medicaid. ... The resignation came just days before the General Assembly voted to pass the budget without Medicaid expansion. ... Now, as three candidates vie for Puckett's seat in the Aug. 19 special election, the Medicaid expansion issue is still on the table (Gibson, 8/9). 

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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