Overnight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — Medicaid expansion gets extra boost from governors' races | Utah's expansion to begin April 1 | GOP lawmaker blames McCain for Dems winning House

Overnight Health Care — Presented by The Partnership for Safe Medicines — Medicaid expansion gets extra boost from governors' races | Utah's expansion to begin April 1 | GOP lawmaker blames McCain for Dems winning House
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Welcome to Monday's edition of Overnight Health Care.

Three red states approved Medicaid expansion at the ballot box and advocates now want to use gubernatorial races to add to that number. Utah's Medicaid expansion ballot initiative is slated to begin April 1. And a GOP lawmaker blamed the late Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainJeffries blasts Trump for attack on Thunberg at impeachment hearing Live coverage: House panel debates articles of impeachment Budowsky: Would John McCain back impeachment? MORE's (R-Ariz) vote against ObamaCare repeal as the reason Republicans lost the House.



We'll start with Medicaid:


Medicaid expansion gets extra boost from governor races

Medicaid expansion advocates are looking to capitalize off their midterm victories by potentially adding Kansas and Wisconsin to their list of recent wins.

Voters in three deep-red states voted to extend coverage to low-income adults, and those wins could spur expansion efforts next year in Wisconsin and Kansas, where Democratic candidates won governor's races on Tuesday.

"I think the midterms were great news on Medicaid and expansion," said Patti Boozang, a consultant with Manatt Health. "It's validation that people really want expansion in their state."

Why it matters: Before the 2018 midterm elections, 33 states and the District of Columbia had expanded Medicaid to people earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level. The U.S. government will pay for most of the cost; about 94 percent this year and gradually sliding to 90 percent by 2020.


Why the optimism for advocates: Utah, Nebraska and Idaho voters approved ballot initiatives in their states that would expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated combined 325,000 residents. There's hope that momentum will carry to Kansas Gov.-elect Laura Kelly (D) and Wisconsin Gov.-elect Tony Evers (D), who vowed in their campaigns to expand Medicaid coverage.

It's complicated: Both Democrats could face stiff headwinds from their legislatures, but it's a lot more difficult in Wisconsin than in Kansas. As in most political fights, money is at the heart of the issue. Even though the government will pay for most of the cost, states are still on the hook for millions of dollars, and Republicans don't want to raise taxes to pay for it. Crucially, Republicans still control the legislatures. For example, in Wisconsin, the state Assembly Speaker has been adamant that he will oppose all efforts to expand Medicaid.

Read more here.



Utah government moving forward to begin Medicaid expansion on April 1

After Medicaid expansion passed by ballot initiative on Tuesday in Utah, the GOP-led state government says it's moving forward to implement the proposal, not resisting like GOP Gov. Paul LePage did in Maine.

"We've closely reviewed the proposition, and have coordinated internally on how to best move forward to meet that April 1 deadline. We are getting systems in place so we are able to open enrollment on April 1," Kolbi Young, a spokeswoman for the Utah Department of Health, told the Deseret News.

Utah is also suspending its application for a "partial" Medicaid expansion, up to just 100 percent of the poverty line, which had been a compromise proposal before the initiative for full expansion passed.

"We have actually asked (the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services) ... to indefinitely hold off on consideration of that proposal as a result of Proposition 3," Young told the Deseret News.

Read the full story here.  


Defeated GOP lawmaker blames McCain for losing House -- in Veterans Day op-ed

A GOP lawmaker who was defeated in last week's midterm elections wrote in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal that the late Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) deserves the blame for the GOP losing its majority in the House.


Rep. Jason LewisJason Mark LewisTwo swing-district Democrats raise impeachment calls after whistleblower reports GOP Senate candidate said Republicans have 'dual loyalties' to Israel The Hill's Campaign Report: Democratic field begins to shrink ahead of critical stretch MORE (R-Minn.), who lost his reelection bid to Democratic challenger Angie Craig, wrote in the op-ed that McCain's vote last year to kill a repeal of the Affordable Care Act "prompted a 'green wave' of liberal special-interest money, which was used to propagate false claims that the House plan 'gutted coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.'"

The op-ed was published on Sunday, which was Armistice Day. Sunday was also Nov. 11, the day Veterans Day is traditionally observed. McCain in 1967 was captured in Vietnam and held as a prisoner of war for five years.

Last year, McCain cast the decisive vote to reject a GOP effort to pass the American Health Care Act, which would have repealed part of the Affordable Care Act. With McCain's vote, the bill died in the Senate after having passed in the House.

Read the story here.


What we're reading:

Pharma's grip on the health care economy (Axios)


Something happened to U.S. drug costs in the 1990s (The New York Times)

Protesters take anger over insulin prices to drug makers, some bearing children's ashes (Stat)



State by state:

Covered California pops and locks into enrollment season (California Healthline)

Vermont state reports show widespread failures in mental health treatment (vtdigger.org)


The dialysis industry spent more than $100 million to beat a California ballot measure (Washington Post)


From The Hill's opinion page:

New FDA approved synthetic opioid serves a good purpose

Veterans can help meet the physician shortage in the VA health system

To honor veterans, Congress must reform federal marijuana laws