States join in fight against Medicaid expansion

As the primary portions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are deployed over the next 18 months, the state of Maine is trying to thrown down the gauntlet to the Obama administration regarding Medicaid cuts, reported Kaiser Health News.

Maine is trying to cut some 26,000 people from its Medicaid rolls as early as this fall, including 15,000 low-income parents and 6,000 late adolescents, with much of that being done by cutting income eligibility below 133 percent of the federal poverty level. The attempt may violate a portion of the ACA which bars states from making it harder to enroll in Medicaid, and in the past would require a waiver from the federal government, according to KHN.

Maine Gov. Paul Le Page believes the U.S. Supreme Court's ruling that Medicaid expansion is voluntary under ACA means the state can shrink its program without federal permission, KHN reported.

But in a letter to Le Page, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius warned the governor not to take any actions, and that the current regulations remain intact. The Obama administration has yet to allow an income eligibility waiver beyond 133 percent of the FPL, according to KHN.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry  said his state would forgo Medicaid expansion altogether, while governors of at least six other states also say they will likely opt out, the New York Times reported.

For more:
- read the Kaiser Health News article
- read the New York Times article