KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Arizona Plan To Cut Adults From Medicaid Highlights Possible ‘Escape Hatch’ For States

The Arizona move to shed these impoverished adults from the insurance plan for low-income people will now proceed despite a provision in the new health law prohibiting states from tightening their eligibility standards.

The Washington Post: Obama Administration Unlikely To Block Arizona Plan To Cut 250,000 From Medicaid Rolls
The Obama administration would permit a controversial plan by Arizona's governor to cut an estimated 250,000 impoverished adults from Medicaid, despite a provision in the new health care law barring states from tightening their eligibility standards for the program, federal officials said Wednesday (Aizenman, 2/16).

The New York Times: Sebelius Clears The Way For Arizona To Shed Adults From Medicaid
The Obama administration gave a green light on Tuesday to Arizona's plan to remove about 250,000 adults from its Medicaid rolls, instructing the state that it could circumvent a requirement in the new health care law that prohibits reductions in eligibility (Sack, 2/16).

Kaiser Health News: States Seeking To Cut Medicaid Rolls Get Some Help – From The Feds
By telling Arizona Tuesday it can effectively end Medicaid coverage of a quarter million people, the Obama administration has pointed out a potential escape hatch for other financially strapped states seeking to cut people from the program. It's just not clear how big the hatch is (Werber Serafini, 2/16).

The Arizona Republic: Arizona Lawmakers Push Medicaid Program Fees
State lawmakers, poised to drop health care coverage for thousands, say poor people who still qualify for the state's Medicaid program, including pregnant women, should take greater responsibility for their health care. They want to impose co-payments for prenatal care, block care to those who don't pay a fee for missed appointments and require people to prove citizenship before hospitals will admit them. The bills are moving through the Legislature as Gov. Jan Brewer and legislative leaders plan to eliminate at least 250,000 people from the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, the state's Medicaid program (Reinhart, 2/17).

The Arizona Republic: Gov. Jan Brewer Works On Medicaid For Parents
Gov. Jan Brewer and her staff have begun work on a new plan to maintain health coverage for 30,000 parents, a day after federal health officials said Arizona can cut 250,000 other adults from the state's Medicaid rolls without jeopardizing federal funds. Brewer said Wednesday that she believes a Tuesday letter from U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius gives Arizona legal authority to drop the childless adults, key to Brewer's budget-balancing plan. Arizona faces a combined $1.8 billion deficit this year and next (Reinhart, 2/17).

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