Medicaid supporters took the issue to Maine’s voters, who gave the green light to expansion. But Gov. Paul LePage (R) refuses to budge until lawmakers find a way to fund the program, leaving the state in limbo. Medicaid news comes out of Texas, Iowa and Missouri, as well.
Maine Governor Defies Ballot Initiative Expanding Medicaid
Maine residents voted decisively last fall to expand the state’s Medicaid program. But almost six months later, Gov. Paul LePage, a tea party Republican, still refuses to take action as the state’s legislative session winds down, putting the Obamacare coverage program in doubt. LePage, a tea party Republican who’s derided Medicaid expansion as a “boondoggle,” for years vetoed bills to join the program. Frustrated state lawmakers thought they finally found a way around the recalcitrant governor last November, when nearly 60 percent of Maine voters approved the first-ever ballot initiative on Medicaid expansion. (Pradhan, 4/23)
Texas Revises Medicaid Policies That Denied Coverage To Kids Of Foreign Parents
Texas is revising its Medicaid coverage policies after reports that U.S.-born children with lawfully present foreign parents were being barred from the program due to their sponsors’ income. Going forward, Texas’ Medicaid agency will not use the income of a legal alien’s sponsor to determine eligibility for that person’s U.S.-born child, since that practice violates federal law, according to state officials. The sponsor’s income will still be used to determine the parents’ Medicaid eligibility. (Dickson, 4/23)
Des Moines Register:
Iowa Medicaid Managed Care Negotiations Delayed By Months
Iowa legislators are poised to pass their annual budget without knowing how many millions they’ll need to spend on Medicaid — the state’s second-biggest expense. Department of Human Services Director Jerry Foxhoven pledged in January not to put legislators in this position again. He said his department would promptly finish contract negotiations with the for-profit companies running Iowa’s $5 billion Medicaid program. (Leys, 4/23)
The Associated Press:
Critically-Ill Boy Headed Home After Medicaid Relents
A critically-ill child is finally going home from the hospital thanks to help on social media. KSDK-TV reports that 1-year-old William Aubuchon of Imperial suffers from a rare genetic condition similar to Rett Syndrome. A ventilator is necessary for William to breathe, and he faces an uncertain future. He was admitted to St. Louis Children’s Hospital Feb. 1, and his parents, Billy and Justine, have stayed beside him. (4/23)
Several States Face Crossroads On Medicaid In 2018
This year could mark a significant shift for Medicaid programs across the country as some states look to expand the government insurance program to more poor Americans while others seek to add more requirements for people who benefit. Initiatives to get Medicaid expansion put on the November ballot are underway in Utah, Nebraska, Idaho and Montana. And Virginia lawmakers appear on the verge of securing an expansion deal after years of rejecting the idea. (Williams, 2/23)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.