Maine Gov. Paul Page (R) has vetoed legislation to implement an expansion five times. Now, health law supporters are taking the issue to voters. In other Medicaid news, Kansas officials will seek federal approval to implement a work requirement, Iowa Democratic lawmakers propose allowing state residents to buy into the Medicaid system and Louisiana’s managed care contracts come under scrutiny.
The New York Times:
The Governor Blocked Medicaid Expansion. Now Maine Voters Could Overrule Him.
Night after night, in the sharp autumn air, canvassers are knocking on doors across Maine in hopes of getting tens of thousands of poor adults insured through Medicaid. Gov. Paul LePage, a Republican, has five times vetoed expanding access to the program under the Affordable Care Act. Next month, voters here will be the first in the nation to decide the issue by referendum. But even in this liberal city, canvassers have encountered resistance from some as they stood on creaky porches and leaf-strewn steps to argue, as Lily SanGiovanni did the other night, that “health care is a human right.” (Goodnough, 10/27)
Outcome Of Maine’s Lengthy Medicaid Expansion Battle Now In Voters’ Hands
Maine is one of 19 states that have rejected expansion. But on Nov. 7, it could be the first to approve it at the ballot box. Question 2 asks Maine voters if they want to provide roughly 70,000 Mainers with healthcare coverage by expanding eligibility of Medicaid – known here as MaineCare. … Meanwhile, Medicaid enrollment has been dropping. The LePage administration has moved aggressively to cut eligibility. And the enrollment numbers show it.
In 2012, there were 345,000 Mainers receiving Medicaid. There were 268,000 through June of of this year, according the Department of Health and Human Services. Meanwhile, roughly 70,000 Mainers have fallen into what’s known nationally as the ACA coverage gap. The gap occurs in the 19 states that did not expand Medicaid. (Mistler, 10/30)
The Associated Press:
Kansas Proposes Work Requirement In New Version Of Medicaid
A proposed change to Kansas’ privatized Medicaid program would compel about 12,000 adults to work to obtain benefits, making the state the first in the country to have such a requirement. Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration said Friday requiring some Medicaid recipients to work would improve their lives and increase their self-esteem. Advocates for Medicaid recipients said requiring work for Medicaid is illegal. (10/27)
Wichita (Kan.) Eagle:
Kansas Proposes Medicaid Work Requirement
Gov. Sam Brownback’s administration says the work requirements will improve lives, even as it stresses that only a relatively small number of people who are not currently working will have to find jobs. Of the 12,000 people the administration says will be affected, most are already required to work because they receive welfare assistance. (Shorman, 10/27)
Kansas Medicaid Officials Unveil KanCare Renewal Plan To Mixed Reviews
Susan Mosier, secretary of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, the state’s primary Medicaid agency, said changes proposed in “KanCare 2.0” are aimed at improving the health of approximately 425,000 low-income, disabled or elderly Kansans enrolled in the program and addressing the administrative and service delivery problems that have plagued it since its launch. “As we move to KanCare 2.0, we’re really moving from a plan of care to a plan of service,” Moiser said. That means shifting beyond a focus on medical care to also addressing the social factors that influence the health of individuals and populations, she said. (McLean, 10/27)
Des Moines Register:
Iowans Could Buy Medicaid Coverage Under Democrats’ “Public Option”
Two Democratic legislators proposed Friday that Iowa end private management of Medicaid and let consumers who now purchase expensive private insurance buy Medicaid coverage instead. Sen. Matt McCoy and Rep. John Forbes pitched the idea as a way for the state to save hundreds of millions of dollars while offering a lifeline to roughly 20,000 Iowans facing the loss of any affordable options for private health-insurance policies. However, the plan would face long odds in a statehouse controlled by Republicans, and it couldn’t go into effect until at least 2019. (Leys, 10/27)
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:
Dem Governor Candidates: Let Anyone Buy State BadgerCare Health Plan
As Republicans like Gov. Scott Walker have pushed Congress for the repeal of the federal Affordable Care Act, Democrats in Wisconsin have reacted by seeking a greater health care role for government that’s similar to U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for all bill. A growing number of state Democrats, including most of the declared candidates for governor, now back allowing anyone to buy coverage through the state’s BadgerCare program. It’s part of a national trend. (Stein, 10/27)
The Associated Press:
Louisiana Medicaid Contracts Under New Scrutiny
Louisiana’s Medicaid managed-care contracts are a high-dollar expense for the state budget that have seen little legislative scrutiny since former Gov. Bobby Jindal privatized much of the Medicaid program five years ago. Now that Gov. John Bel Edwards has inherited the deals, lawmakers are digging more into the spending — right as the Edwards administration wants to continue the arrangements for another 23 months at a cost of more than $15 billion in federal and state cash. (10/29)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.