Moves to Block Medicaid Expansion May Spell Trouble for MCOs

Across the country, conservative state officials are going further than ever to thwart Medicaid expansion, taking steps to reverse successful ballot initiatives, reforming processes to block ballot measures before they reach voters — and erecting barriers to Medicaid enrollment for some residents who are already eligible. That’s all potentially bad news for Medicaid-focused insurers, experts say.

In Missouri, voters in August 2020 approved an amendment to the state constitution that expands Medicaid. However, the Republican-controlled state legislature refused to fund the new program. Though Republican Gov. Mike Parson had promised to implement the expansion program as recently as January, on May 13 he reversed his position and sent a letter to CMS withdrawing the State Plan Amendments required to launch the program. In response, a Missouri legal aid group filed a lawsuit against the state.

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Peter Johnson

Peter Johnson

Peter has worked as a journalist since 2011 and has covered health care since 2020. At AIS Health, Peter covers trends in finance, business and policy that affect the health insurance and pharma sectors. For Health Plan Weekly, he covers all aspects of the U.S. health insurance sector, including employer-sponsored insurance, Medicaid managed care, Medicare Advantage and the Affordable Care Act individual marketplaces. In Radar on Drug Benefits, Peter covers the operations of (and conflicts between) pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers, with a particular focus on pricing dynamics and market access. Before joining AIS Health, Peter covered transportation, public safety and local government for various outlets in Seattle, his hometown and current place of residence. He graduated with a B.A. from Colby College.

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