Alaska: Medicaid Reform Bill Unveiled in Senate 

Senator Pete Kelly (R) introduced SB74, which calls for Medicaid reform in the State to reduce costs, but does not include Medicaid expansion. The bill outlines a variety of reform initiatives including the establishment of health savings accounts for Medicaid beneficiaries and a Medicaid managed care demonstration project for individuals enrolled in Denali KidCare, the State's CHIP, and other beneficiaries who opt in to the demonstration. In addition, the bill seeks to redesign the payment process and reform care delivery by expanding the use of telemedicine, enhancing care management, and reducing Emergency Department usage. The bill has been referred to the Senate Health and Social Services Committee for review. 

Nebraska: Medicaid Expansion Bill Advances to Full Legislature 

By a vote of 5-2, the Nebraska Legislature’s Health and Human Services Committee voted to advance the Medicaid Redesign Act (LB472) for consideration before the full Legislature. Introduced by Lincoln Senator Kathy Campbell (R) in late February, the bill would expand Medicaid to 54,000 Nebraska adults and compel the State to seek federal authority to purchase private coverage with Medicaid funding and include healthy behavior incentives as part of coverage. The bill is expected to be filibustered and will also face opposition from Governor Pete Ricketts (R), who has opposed expansion in the past. 

New Hampshire: House Committee Strikes Governor’s Request to Extend Medicaid Expansion Authority 

Division III of the House Finance Committee voted by a margin of 6-3 to strike Governor Maggie Hassan's (D) budget proposal to extend Medicaid expansion authority into 2017. New Hampshire implemented its expansion in mid-2014 and earlier this month secured CMS approval to transition to a Medicaid premium assistance program in 2016 through which most expansion adults will be enrolled in qualified health plans in the Marketplace. Under current law, New Hampshire’s Medicaid expansion is authorized through 2016 and additional Legislative approval must be secured to continue operation. 

Pennsylvania: State Releases Timeline for Medicaid Expansion Transition 

On Monday, the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services (DHS) released a timeline detailing Governor Tom Wolf (D)'s plan to shift beneficiaries from the previous governor’s Healthy Pennsylvania plan into a traditional Medicaid expansion. The state will implement the two phases of the plan by September 30, including transitioning individuals who were enrolled in private coverage through Healthy Pennsylvania into the newly created HealthyChoices PA Medicaid program. To ensure that beneficiaries do not experience any lapses in coverage, DHS will be working with managed care organizations throughout the State to notify individuals by mail prior to the transition. 

Rhode Island: Governor's Budget Includes Medicaid Reductions and Marketplace Funding Plan 

Governor Gina Raimondo (D) unveiled her $8.6 billion budget proposal for Fiscal Year 2016, which includes $90 million in reductions to the State's Medicaid program and a funding plan for HealthSource RI (HSRI), as reported by Rhode Island Public Radio. Raimondo proposed $45 million in payment cuts to Medicaid providers, as well as $45 million in savings through Medicaid reform, which she has tasked the State's Working Group to Reinvent Medicaid with identifying by the end of April. In addition, the Governor proposed implementing a tax of between 1 and 4 percent on every individual and small business health plan in the State, regardless of whether the plan was purchased through HSRI. These user fees are projected to raise over $6 million in new revenue, which, in conjunction with federal funding through the end of the calendar year, will support the continued operation of the Marketplace. 

Utah: No Deal on Medicaid Expansion this Session 

Despite negotiations throughout this legislative session, Governor Gary Herbert (R) and the Utah Legislature failed to reach a deal on Medicaid expansion before the session concluded last Thursday. Attempts had been underway to find a compromise between the Governor's "Healthy Utah" plan, which the Senate passed but the House rejected, and “Utah Cares,” the plan created and supported by House Republicans. During a press conference, Governor Herbert announced that he is committed to working with legislative leadership to find a solution by July 31, 2015, after which there will be a special session to pass the plan.