Gov. Mike Pence announced today federal approval of his state’s Medicaid waiver to expand eligibility to all persons with incomes below 138 percent of the federal poverty level, according to the Indy Star newspaper.

Pence has lobbied hard for what he calls HIP 2.0, expanding a smaller consumer-driven health plan called Healthy Indiana Plan, rather than expand the traditional Medicaid program.

“The expanded and updated HIP 2.0 is based on a program that has been serving 60,000 low-income Hoosiers in our state for seven years,” said Governor Pence in a press release. “It is a proven model for Medicaid reform across the nation.”

Up to 350,000 people will be eligible according to the press release. The state will start taking applications today, Jan. 27, for coverage to begin on Feb. 1, 2015.

New Arkansas governor, Asa Hutchinson, will ask the legislature to continue to fund the private option Medicaid expansion through the end of 2016, according to the Arkansas Times. Then he intends to come up with a new plan for 2017 and beyond.

Gov. Hutchinson alluded to Section 1332 waivers, sometimes called waivers on steroids, that will be available to states in 2017 to implement wholesale reforms of Medicaid while releasing an approved state from many, if not all, of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

Top Five 2015 Health Issues: A Further Examination

A flurry of state governors - in the 24 states that have not yet expanded Medicaid - are talking about expanding Medicaid eligibility as allowed under the Affordable Care Act. Many of these governors are offering up solutions that they say are designed uniquely for their state, carefully differentiating the new proposals from “traditional” Medicaid. This activity is likely to continue throughout 2015. Outside ACA issues, states will consider a number of health delivery issues. These include how to match the workforce to the need for professionals and how to expand some service areas such as mental health and substance abuse.

Calling his proposal Insure Tennessee, Gov. Bill Haslam said yestereday he is requesting an amendment to the state’s TennCare demonstration project for a two year pilot project to cover as many as 200,000 low-income individuals under the Medicaid expansion available through the Affordable Care Act, according to numerous press reports.

Pennsylvania and New Hampshire are the latest states to expand Medicaid eligibility, securing federal approval of their states' waiver proposals. Those two states join Arkansas, Iowa and Michigan that also have implemented Medicaid expansion outside of the traditional Medicaid program model. Indiana has a pending waiver application. 

It is likely that some of the 22 states that so far have not expanded Medicaid may still do so. To keep up with...

California voters will have an opportunity on the November 2014 ballot to approve Proposition 45 requiring that the state insurance commissioner approve proposed increases in health insurance rates. The campaign for the proposition is led by Consumer Watchdog, a group that has taken on the automobile and home insurance industries previously.

In 35 other states,...

Twenty-one state legislators from 14 states gathered in Washington, D.C. on Sept. 15-17, 2014, for a CSG-led Medicaid Leadership Policy Academy. Almost 50 percent of the attendees were chairs or vice-chairs of health committees in their home states. Nearly half were health care professionals outside their legislative duties. 

The meeting was a follow-up to the Medicaid Policy Academies CSG has held in 2012, 2013, and 2014 for legislatos who have been newly elected...

The Associated Press is reporting today that the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia will have all its full panel of judges re-hear the challenge to granting subsidies for health insurance purchase in the states that have not implemented state-based health insurance exchanges.

The initial ruling had come from a three-judge panel and called...

The federal government has approved a waiver from Pennsylvania that will move the state forward on expansion of Medicaid to low income residents starting Jan. 1, 2015. Pennsylvania becomes the 27th state to expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act. 

In a press release, Gov. Corbett says, “From the beginning, I said we needed a plan that was created in Pennsylvania for Pennsylvania − a plan that would...

On July 22, 2014, two federal appeals courts handed down opposing rulings on the legality of tax credits to reduce the cost of health insurance premiums purchased in the 36 states with federally facilitated exchanges. In those states, 4.7 million individuals receive tax subsidies, averaging $264 per month, to make their premiums affordable. No changes are anticipated in the availability of tax subsidies during the appeal of these decisions. Pundits are betting that the ultimate stop for the cases will be the U.S. Supreme Court. 

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