Alaska: Governor Unveils Medicaid Expansion Bill

After failing to secure legislative approval for Medicaid expansion through his budget proposal, Governor Bill Walker (I) introduced expansion bills in the House and Senate, HB148 and SB78. This represents a change of position for Governor Walker, who previously indicated there was no need for him to submit standalone legislation when an expansion bill, HB18, was already introduced in the House. The Governor's bills seek to expand Medicaid coverage to Alaskans with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, contingent on the federal match rate for expansion not falling below 90%. In addition, the bills encourage the State to pursue a provider tax to partially offset the cost of expansion, and apply for waivers to use innovative service delivery systems, increase efficiency and improve home and community-based services. The bills are currently under review by the respective Health and Social Services Committees.

Florida: House, Senate Budget Proposals Reflect Differing Healthcare Agendas

The Florida House and Senate introduced budget proposals with vastly different healthcare agendas, resulting in a $5 billion discrepancy. The Senate plan includes receipt of $2.8 billion in federal Medicaid expansion funds and $2.2 billion for the continuance of a modified Low Income Pool (LIP) program, which CMS has stated it will not renew at the end of June in its present form. The House proposal, on the other hand, excludes both Medicaid expansion and LIP funding. Florida’s House has blocked Medicaid expansion for the past two legislative sessions and, though it supports continued LIP funding, has stated that it is not prepared to accept further funds without specification from CMS about the future parameters of the program.

Indiana: Governor Pence Lauds Improved Provider Participation since Medicaid Expansion

According to Governor Mike Pence (R), since the approval of the State’s Medicaid expansion program in January, the three managed care plans that coordinate care for expansion adults have, in total, added 939 providers of all types, including 335 physicians, to their networks. The Governor credits this “rapid and meaningful increase in the number of doctors opening their practices to Healthy Indiana Plan members” to the Medicare-equivalent reimbursement rates that serve as a main tenet of the program.

Kansas: Medicaid Expansion Halts after Testimony Warns of Potential Costs

Following two days of testimony, the House Committee on Health and Human Services did not advance Medicaid expansion bill HB 2319. While the former secretary of the Kansas Department of Health & Environment (KDHE) testified in support, acting secretary Susan Mosier warned legislators of potential costs. A fiscal analysis submitted by the Budget Director indicates that while federal funding would cover all costs of the expansion in 2016, the State may incur costs of $3 million for new enrollees who were already eligible for the program. Additionally, the analysis speculates that if the federal government made expansion contingent on providing services to disabled Kansans on Medicaid waiver waiting lists, these services could cost the State $97 million in 2016. Because it is unclear whether funding the waiting lists would be a prerequisite to expansion, some stakeholders maintain the costs are “artificially pump[ed] up.” Tom Bell, President of the Kansas Hospital Association (KHA), noted that KHA believes the expansion will “pay for itself through economic development spurred by the infusion of…federal cash” and that the hospitals are willing to discuss the costs of the program.