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National & State Update: Surprise Medical Bills & Medicaid Expansion Efforts Spread

In an effort to keep you up to date on proposed and actual changes to our health care system and other hot topics in the law, here is our national and state update:

National News:

  • Surprise medical billing has increasingly become a forefront issue for Americans struggling with a medical diagnosis. There is some progress being made, however, as 25 states now have laws protecting patients from surprise out-of-network bills. Furthermore, approximately 20 states have proposed legislation to also fight surprise billing this year. Surprise medical bills are just the tip of the iceberg, however, as mounds of debt threaten to pile up after a diagnosis. As this article states, “debt never dies,” and only Wisconsin, North Carolina, and Mississippiclear certain debts once they are past the statute of limitations. If you’re curious about more information on surprise medical billing, check out a previous State Update on this topic.

How can you help progress positive legislation towards ending surprise medical billing? Check out our Advocacy Resources page.

Idaho:

  • The federal government recently rejected Idaho lawmakers’ planto alter the state’s Medicaid expansion plan that was approved by voters through a ballot proposition in November. The state of Idaho’s proposal to allow newly Medicaid-eligible Idahoans to buy private insurance instead, using federal tax credits, was denied on the basis it would cost the federal government too much.

Missouri:

  • Advocates in MO have launched a petition to put Medicaid expansionon the ballot in 2020, after seeing the success of other states who approved Medicaid expansion, like Maine for example. Medicaid expansion could mean coverage for more than 200,000 uninsured Missourians. Check back soon for updates on their efforts.

Nebraska:

  • Nebraska advocates filed a lawsuitin an effort to nudge state officials to expand Medicaid coverage in NE sooner than the projected October 2020 rollout date. 54% of voters approved a ballot measure last November to expand Medicaid coverage to approximately 94,000 residents in the state who previously were not eligible. By delaying the implemental of Medicaid expansion until 10/1/20, not only will people not get access to valuable coverage, but the state will miss out on approximately $149 million in federal funding.
Samantha Skelton
ss@triagecancer.org