KHN Morning Briefing

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Ala. Governor Threatens Budget Veto Over Medicaid Appropriation

Gov. Robert Bentley says the budget, which lawmakers are expected to approve this weekend, falls far short of the amount necessary for the program. Meanwhile, Bentley told health workers at a Monroe Country hospital that a lottery might be the most realistic option to raise adequate funding for the health insurance program for low-income people. And, in Mississippi, the Senate approved a bill calling for regular audits of the state's electronic records system and program beneficiaries.

The Associated Press: Alabama Governor Says He Will Veto Budget Over Medicaid Funding
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said Monday that he will veto a general fund budget lawmakers are expected to approve this week over what he called an "unacceptable" appropriation for Medicaid. The Alabama Senate on Tuesday is expected to give final approval to a budget that is $85 million short of the amount Bentley says is needed to adequately fund the state's Medicaid program. "Legislators just don't understand it, and I don't think they want to," Bentley said during a press conference in Monroeville to highlight problems with rural broadband and health care access. (3/21) Bentley Says Lottery Probably Only Way To Raise Money For Medicaid
Gov. Robert Bentley told doctors and other employees at Monroe County Hospital today that a lottery is probably the only realistic option for raising more money for Medicaid. The governor said he thought voters would approve a lottery overwhelmingly if it made its way to the ballot, by "70 percent." ... The governor said the 94-bed hospital is an example of a strong and vital rural facility that could take a hit if Medicaid's funding request is not met. The Medicaid Agency has said it would have to cut payments to doctors and trim optional programs. Bentley said rural doctors would be affected. (Cason, 3/21)

The Associated Press: Medicaid, SNAP Crackdown: Records, Audits Eyed
The Mississippi Senate passed a narrower version of a bill Monday that would require an electronic records system for Medicaid and a regular audit of Medicaid recipients. House Bill 1116 would hire an outside company to build a computerized record of Medicaid recipients’ information. The Senate version, approved Monday by a committee, requires that Medicaid officials periodically verify recipients’ financial information and residency to determine if they’re still eligible for aid. Any recipient found to have left Mississippi would stop getting aid within three months after they left. (Benchaabane, 3/21)

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