Maine’s Vote On Medicaid Seen As Bellwether Of National Views On Key Obamacare Provision

Next week, voters in Maine will decide whether to expand Medicaid under the provisions of the federal health law. Gov. Paul LePage (R) is fighting it, arguing that the small, economically struggling state with an aging population cannot afford the expansion. Supporters say it will help thousands of people who do not have care now. In other Medicaid news, a California company ends its transportation contract with Idaho, and changes planned in New Mexico come under fire.

The Associated Press:
Maine Medicaid Expansion Vote Seen As Obamacare Referendum

The roiling national debate over the government’s proper role in health care is coming to a head in a state more commonly known for moose, lobster and L.L. Bean. On Nov. 7, voters in Maine will decide whether to join 31 other states and expand Medicaid under former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act. It is the first time since the law took effect nearly four years ago that the expansion question has been put to voters. (Villeneuve, 10/31)

The Associated Press:
Idaho: Company Terminates $70M Medicaid Transport Contract

The company tapped to transport Medicaid patients for non-emergency services in Idaho is ending its $70 million contract with the state, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Monday. San Diego-based Veyo says its exercising its early termination rights — as allowed under its three year contract — effective March 5, 2018. (10/30)

Idaho Statesman:
Veyo Drops Its $70M Idaho Contract To Drive Medicaid Clients To Their Appointments

Transportation company Veyo blamed Idaho officials in a Sept. 6 letter for making its transportation contract financially impossible. The company’s Uber-style independent drivers started providing transportation services to Idahoans on Medicaid on July 1, 2016. But its model caused a stir in the months leading up to that date. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare reacted to “unjustified concerns and misconceptions” about Veyo’s business model by demanding “significant, non-contractual restrictions” that raised the company’s costs of doing business, Josh Komenda, company president, wrote in the letter. (Dutton, 10/30)

Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal:
Proposed Medicaid Changes Criticized At Public Hearing

New Mexico’s proposal to revamp its Medicaid program – by charging some premiums and expanding the use of copays – drew harsh criticism during a public hearing late Monday in Albuquerque. I think it’s inhumane and mean-spirited,” said one man who called in to participate in the hearing by telephone. State officials, in turn, told the audience of about 60 that the proposal would encourage patients to seek preventive services, help control costs and improve the coordination of care received by Medicaid recipients. They said they were open to making changes based on the public comments. (McKay, 10/30)

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