Alabama: Task Force Recommends Expanding Medicaid Coverage

The Alabama Health Care Improvement Task Force, commissioned by Governor Robert Bentley (R) via Executive Order in April, has recommended expanding health care coverage to Alabamians who currently fall into the "coverage gap" because they do not qualify for Medicaid or subsidies in the Marketplace and are unable to purchase health insurance through their employer or on the individual market. The report describes the benefits of "Medicaid redesign," including expanding coverage to 185,000 working Alabamians, helping rural hospitals and private practices remain open, and increased tax revenues that could "offset most or all of the eventual state share." The Governor has not yet taken a position on the recommendations, according to a spokesperson.

Louisiana: Governor-Elect Lists Medicaid Expansion Among Highest Priorities

Receiving 56% of the vote in Saturday's gubernatorial runoff election, John Bel Edwards (D)—campaigning on a promise to expand Medicaid on "Day One"—became Louisiana's Governor-elect over David Vitter (R). Since his election, Governor-elect Edwards has noted that concerns raised by the Legislative Fiscal Office about the State's funding mechanism for the non-federal share of expansion costs will need to be addressed before implementation. The Republican-dominated legislature passed a Medicaid expansion funding bill last spring that included a hospital assessment and was supported by the Louisiana Hospital Association. Edwards's chief of staff, State Senator Ben Nevers (D) (who sponsored several Medicaid expansion bills in recent years) estimates that 242,000 individuals would gain coverage under Medicaid expansion.