President Obama Announces Intent to Provide Full Medicaid Expansion Funding for States Yet to Expand Eligibility

President Obama plans to seek congressional approval to extend enhanced funding for non-expansion states that decide to expand Medicaid, according to a blog posted by the White House. A proposal in the President's 2017 budget will provide any state that takes up the Medicaid expansion option with the same three years of full federal funding and gradual phase down of that funding experienced by states that expanded in 2014. Under current law, funding for Medicaid expansion will be reduced to 95% in 2017 and will phase down to 90% by 2020 for all states, regardless of when they expanded.

Nebraska: Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Introduce Medicaid Expansion Bill

Senator John McCollister (R) and 16 co-sponsors introduced a bill (LB 1032) requiring the State Department of Health and Human Services to submit a waiver to CMS to expand Medicaid by purchasing qualified health plans (QHPs) on the Marketplace. The legislation would enroll the majority of expansion adults into QHPs, excluding the medically frail and those with cost-effective employer sponsored insurance (ESI), for whom an ESI premium assistance program is proposed. Most enrollees with incomes greater than 50% of the federal poverty level would be required to pay a premium of 2% of their income and unemployed enrollees would be referred to a newly-proposed employment program. Three previous Medicaid expansion proposals have failed in Nebraska and some Republican legislators have already voiced their opposition to this bill. It is estimated Medicaid expansion would cover an additional 77,000 individuals.

Alabama: Medicaid Commissioner Requests an Additional $157 Million from Legislature

Medicaid Commissioner Stephanie Azar asked lawmakers for an additional $157 million in funds for next year's Medicaid budget, a 23% increase that would bring the State's total Medicaid expenditures to $842 million. Azar said that the increase is being driven by inflation, federal government overpayments that must be paid back, and the cost of creating regional care organizations to transition to managed care, which would be halted without the increased funds. Medicaid is currently the State's largest General Fund expenditure, accounting for more than one-third of spending. The previous Medicaid budget included a $37 million carryover and a one-time $20 million payment from an oil spill settlement.