More states move forward on Medicaid expansion

Pennsylvania and Missouri officials are trying to reach deals to expand their Medicaid programs under the health reform law, while Louisiana is standing firm in its opposition to any expansion-related proposal.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett could be willing to expand Medicaid if the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services can meet some of his demands, including making changes to the state's current Medicaid program to keep it financially viable, The Patriot-News reported.

Of most importance to Corbett is obtaining 100 percent federal funding for the state's expansion and ensuring children covered by the state's low-income health insurance program won't shift to Medicaid.

In Missouri, Gov. Jay Nixon has launched a full-scale lobbying effort, including communicating with HHS officials, to get his state lawmakers to approve the expansion, reported the Associated Press.

Nixon wants to establish a trigger that would end Missouri's Medicaid expansion if HHS doesn't enhance its funding. He also wants to require co-payments from Medicaid members and offer incentives to compel cost-conscious healthcare decisions, including visiting the doctor's office instead of an emergency room.

Meanwhile, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal continues his adamant opposition to any Medicaid expansion, even the plan first proposed by Arkansas that would let the state redirect federal funds to private insurance companies, reported the New Orleans Times-Picayune.

"Yes, we have looked at it and no, we are not entertaining it. And the reason we're not is because it's really not a silver bullet," Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Interim Secretary Kathy Kliebert said. She admitted some aspects of privatizing Medicaid "sound good," but said the plan still doesn't provide the flexibility Jindal wants.

To learn more:
- read The Patriot-News article
- see the Associated Press article
- check out the New Orleans Times-Picayune article