Montana officials say the state saved more than $30 million since the expansion program began in 2016. Arkansas reports that the program was much larger than officials expected but the state’s share of the costs was less than they budgeted for. Meanwhile, New Hampshire lawmakers are preparing for a debate next year on whether to keep the expansion, and some Medicaid enrollees in California are frustrated by the few doctors who accept Medicaid payments.

The Associated Press:
Medicaid Expansion Has Saved Montana $30 Million

Montana’s Medicaid expansion program has saved the state health department more than $30 million since its start in January 2016, mostly because the federal government paid a bigger share of the costs for some recipients, officials said. Erica Johnston with the Department of Public Health and Human Services told a legislative oversight committee on Wednesday that the program covers nearly 84,000 residents and has paid for $574 million in health care services since it began. … Johnston told the Medicaid Expansion Oversight Committee that even as the state continues to pay a share of the costs for recipients under Medicaid expansion, Montana is still ahead of the game. “Our current budget crisis would be worse today in the absence of Medicaid expansion,” she said. (Hanson, 9/29)

Arkansas Online:
State’s Spending For Medicaid Up

Driven by enrollment that surged past expectations, spending on Arkansas’ expanded Medicaid program grew by almost 24 percent during the fiscal year that ended June 30, surpassing what state officials initially projected by about $200 million. Despite the higher-than-expected overall cost, Arkansas’ share of the tab came in about $5 million below what the state had projected. (Davis, 10/2)

The Associated Press:
Medicaid Battle Looming At NH Statehouse

The New Hampshire Legislature won’t be back in session until January, but lawmakers have begun drafting bills and crafting agendas. After getting the budget out of the way last year, re-authorization of the state’s expanded Medicaid program will be the big issue next year, said House Minority Leader Steve Shurtleff, D-Concord. … Shurtleff said he expects a close vote but he thinks lawmakers on both sides of the aisle will keep the program going. “It’s been so positive for New Hampshire in so many ways, so we really want to keep that on the books,” he said. Republican Senate President Chuck Morse wasn’t as confident, saying no one is sure how the Medicaid debate will play out given the mixed messages from Washington. (Ramer, 10/1)

Sacramento Bee:
Medi-Cal Enrollees Gain Coverage But Not Broad Access To Doctors

Even though the Affordable Care Act has expanded the ranks of people covered by Medi-Cal, [Michael] Gonzalez and other Medi-Cal enrollees say they face challenges establishing medical homes with the major physician groups readily available to California leaders and to many rank-and-file workers. That’s because many large physician groups no longer contract with health plans serving adult Medi-Cal patients, saying that government reimbursements are too low to cover the cost of treating patients. (Anderson, 10/1)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.