After House Republicans abandoned their years-long opposition to expansion, the lower chamber included it in its proposed budget. In the Senate, though, GOP lawmakers have not softened their stance. Outlets report on Medicaid news out of Kansas and Montana, as well.
The Washington Post:
Va. House Budget Includes Medicaid Expansion; Senate Version Does Not
Virginia’s House and Senate on Thursday approved starkly different state budget plans, one flush enough for teacher raises, expanded health care and more financial aid for college students, the other filled with painful cuts. The difference boiled down to Medicaid expansion. More than a dozen House Republicans abandoned their long-standing opposition to expansion, teaming up with Democrats to include it in their two-year spending plan, which would take effect July 1. (Vozzella and Schneider, 2/22)
The Associated Press:
GOP-Led Push For Medicaid Expansion Faces Roadblocks
Even with new support from key GOP leaders, Medicaid expansion in Virginia still faces serious roadblocks. That includes a fierce intraparty squabble among Republicans and strong disagreement among expansion supporters on how to pay for it — divisions that were on full display Thursday. The GOP-controlled House voted with a bipartisan majority for a budget that includes Medicaid expansion with work requirements, copays and new hospital taxes. The Republican-controlled Senate voted along party lines against including Medicaid expansion in its budget. (Suderman, 2/22)
Kansas City Star:
KanCare Eligibility A Maze For Kansas Seniors In Need Of Care
Advocates for elderly Kansans say a number of changes the state made to streamline the Medicaid application and renewal process have actually created a maze that seniors are getting lost in. In 2015, Kansas moved to a new computer system for applying for Kansas Medicaid, or KanCare. Then it funneled applications and annual reviews that used to be handled in regional offices into a single “KanCare Clearinghouse” in Topeka. It contracted with a company called Maximus to staff the Clearinghouse starting in 2016. (Marso, 2/22)
Ballot Initiative Would Re-Authorize Montana Medicaid Expansion
Two healthcare groups plan to ask Montana voters to continue the state’s Medicaid expansion in November, and to fund it with a higher tax on tobacco. The Montana Hospital Association and the American Heart Association filed ballot language today. Montana’s Medicaid expansion, passed by the 2015 Legislature, has extended health care coverage to more than 90,000 state residents who were previously not eligible for Medicaid. Now, nearly anyone in Montana who makes less than about $17,000 a year is eligible for Medicaid. (Cates-Carney, 2/22)
Kaiser Health News:
Evaluations Of Medicaid Experiments By States, CMS Are Weak, GAO Says
With federal spending on Medicaid experiments soaring in recent years, a congressional watchdog said state and federal governments fail to adequately evaluate if the efforts improve care and save money. A study by the Government Accountability Office released Thursday found some states don’t complete evaluation reports for up to seven years after an experiment begins and often fail to answer vital questions to determine effectiveness. The GAO also slammed the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for failing to make results from Medicaid evaluation reports public in a timely manner. (Galewitz, 2/23)
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