LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan lawmakers have given final approval to legislation to make more low-income adults eligible for health insurance through the federal health care law.
The Medicaid expansion bill approved 75-32 Tuesday by the Republican-led House now heads to Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who plans to sign it.
The newly eligible recipients would be covered starting in March instead of January because Senate Republicans refused to put the measure into effect immediately.
Medicaid expansion is part of a strategy to ensure nearly all Americans have health insurance under the 2010 Affordable Care Act. It was designed to cover the neediest uninsured people but became optional for states because of a Supreme Court decision.
Michigan's plan includes GOP provisions requiring federal approval. Snyder says he has received "positive feedback" from the Obama administration.
An important healthcare safety net in St. Louis is laying off more than half its staff.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that St. Louis ConnectCare has issued 60 day layoff notices to 88 employees, including nurses and other medical personnel. The non-profit organization runs an outpatient clinic at the former St. Louis Regional Medical Center and provides outpatient specialty medical services for the poor.
ConnectCare CEO Melody Eskridge told the Post that about 60 percent of the patients they serve are uninsured and about 23 percent receive Medicaid. She says ConnectCare must reorganized because for financial reasons.
Both Eskridge and St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay say the Missouri Legislatures failure to expand Medicaid is at least partly to blame for ConnectCare's bleak financial outlook.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After declining to expand Medicaid coverage this year, the Missouri House has passed a bill that would create a committee to study the issue next year.
The House passed the measure 133-27 Monday. It would create a joint committee of House and Senate members to look at ways to "transform" the state's Medicaid program. The committee would begin at the end of the current session until the 2015 session's start in January.
Gov. Jay Nixon called for lawmakers to expand coverage for 260,000 adults starting in 2014. The Republican-led Legislature rejected that appeal numerous times and abandoned plans for an alternative proposal earlier this month.
The bill now heads to the Senate.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican senators have made it clear that there will be no Medicaid expansion in Missouri this session.
The Republican-led Senate voted down a Democratic attempt Monday night to insert $890 million of federal funds into Missouri's budget to expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 260,000 lower-income adults.
The vote was just the latest in a series of similar defeats in the Missouri Legislature for the Medicaid expansion backed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and called for under President Barack Obama's health care law.
But this vote carried a bit more weight. That's because it ensured that neither the Senate nor the House version of the budget includes the Medicaid expansion. Under legislative rules, negotiators cannot insert money into the final budget that wasn't in either chamber's plan.
SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) - An expansion of Medicaid under President Barack Obama's health care overhaul could increase Illinois' unpaid bills.
The (Springfield) State Journal-Register reports that the expansion would also force the state to take even longer to pay its existing $9 billion in backlogged bills.
Medicaid is the government health program for the poor and disabled. The General Assembly is considering approving a federally subsidized expansion of the program. Estimates show that about 342,000 additional Illinois residents could become eligible under the planned expansion.
The federal government would fully fund the first three years of the expansion. It would then incrementally drop the funding.
The Illinois Senate in February approved a measure authorizing the enrollment increase. Officials expect the House to vote on the issue by May 31.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon is imploring Missouri residents to lobby their lawmakers in a final push to expand Medicaid coverage for lower-income adults.
The Democratic governor headlined a nearly hour-long rally Tuesday that his administration says drew more than 1,000 people to the Missouri Capitol. It featured business leaders, doctors, pastors and others all lending their support to the Medicaid expansion called for under President Barack Obama's health care law.
Republican legislative leaders have so far refused to expand Medicaid, citing the potential long-term costs to the state.
Tuesday's rally may have done little to change that.
House Speaker Tim Jones, of Eureka, says a majority of his constituents "do not want us to implement any form of Obamacare."
Missouri legislators have just four weeks remaining in their 2013 session.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Gov. Jay Nixon wants to know what modifications to Missouri's Medicaid system may be acceptable to federal health care officials.
Nixon was to talk over the phone Tuesday with Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius about a potential Medicaid expansion. Specifically, Nixon wants to know how much flexibility Missouri has to make market-based changes or require co-payments from adults earning up to 138 percent of the poverty level, which is about $27,000 annually for a family of three.
Sebelius has said previously that states must expand Medicaid to that level in order to qualify for full federal funding.
Earlier Tuesday, Nixon met with Republican senators about a Medicaid expansion. He says it was a substantive, thoughtful discussion.
So far, however, Republicans have been reluctant to embrace the Medicaid expansion.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The Missouri House has passed a nearly $25 billion budget that would fund modest increases for public education but not the Medicaid expansion sought by Gov. Jay Nixon.
House approval of the budget Thursday sends it to the Senate, where more changes are likely.
The 2014 budget plan would provide a roughly 2 percent increase in basic aid for public K-12 schools, colleges and universities. But school funding would still fall $620 million short of what's called for under a state formula.
Missouri's Tourism Division would get one of the largest percentage increases in the budget - from nearly $14 million this year to almost $20 million next year.
The budget leaves out more than $900 million of federal funds that Nixon had recommended for a Medicaid expansion.
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon is continuing to push for a Medicaid expansion, but he's open to alternatives that could use federal money to buy private insurance for lower-income adults.
Nixon said in an interview Thursday that he's willing to consider an Arkansas model that would use Medicaid money to purchase policies through an online insurance exchange created under President Barack Obama's health care law.
The 2010 law called for states to expand Medicaid to adults earning up to 138 percent of poverty, or $32,500 for a family of four. A U.S. Supreme Court ruling last year made that optional for states.
Nixon is visiting Hermann and Perryville to build support for a Medicaid expansion. Republican legislators have rejected his plan. But Nixon says he hopes for a compromise.
The House opened debate Tuesday on the state's 2014 budget by defeating an effort to send the budget back to a committee in hopes of adding more than $900 million of federal funds to expand Medicaid for low-income adults.
The defeat of Tuesday's motion was almost a foregone conclusion in the Republican-led House, because the House Budget Committee had previously rejected the Medicaid expansion.
Democratic Gov. Jay was traveling Tuesday to suburbs of Kansas City and St. Louis to build public support for the Medicaid expansion.
The 2010 health care law signed by President Barack Obama calls for a Medicaid expansion, but a Supreme Court ruling last year made it optional for states.