Two states reconsider Medicaid expansion; eye modified programs

Policymakers in Missouri and Pennsylvania, both laggards in deciding whether to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act, are moving forward--in that they're more closely considering their options.

Pennsylvania Gov.Tom Corbett may allow an expansion of the Medicaid program if the legislature can make reforms to current enrollees, Kaiser Health News reported. Those reforms may include provisions for unemployes Medicaid enrollees to seek work, as well as using federal dollars to purchase private insurance coverage for program entrants--a proposal under consideration in Arkansas, New Hampshire and other states.

In Missouri, recent research suggests that public sentiment is in favor of expanding Medicaid. The state's governor, Jay Nixon, a Democrat, is in favor of expansion, but the GOP-controlled Legislature is opposed.

"I can look someone in the eye and say, 'Representative, this is what we heard time and time again, and we need to keep an open mind,'" Rep. Neal Torpey, the Republican lawmaker who heads the committee, told Kaiser Health News.

Torpey said this would likely spark debate on the issue when lawmakers reconvene early next year. Among the topics: How an expanded program would fund after-discharge care, as well as added transparency in hospital billing.

To learn more:
- read the article on Medicaid expansion in Pennsylvania
- here's the article on Medicaid expansion in Missouri