KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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GOP’s Proposed Cuts To Medicaid Would Ripple Across The Country

From nursing homes to mental health services to private coverage, the changes proposed by Republicans to Medicaid would have wide-ranging effects.

The Associated Press: Medicaid Cut In GOP Health Bill Worries The Nursing Home Set
Amy Bernard and her brother kept their mother out of a nursing home as long as they could, until Parkinson's and dementia took their toll and she was seriously injured in a fall. Bernard is happy with her mother's nursing home care, but it comes at a steep price: $7,000 per month, an amount that would be way beyond the older woman's means if not for Medicaid, which picks up $3,000 of the tab. (Spencer, 7/8)

NPR: Medicaid Cuts Could Threaten Mental Health Access For The Poor
It was about a year ago that Ornella Mouketou walked into the emergency room at the George Washington University Hospital in Washington, D.C., and told them she wanted to end her life. She was in her early 20s, unemployed and depressed. "I was just walking around endlessly. I was walking around parks, and I was just crying all the time," she says. "It was like an empty black hole." (Kodjak, 7/9)

Kaiser Health News: Senate GOP Bill Aims To Add Psych Beds; Squeeze On Medicaid Signals Their Undoing
A little-discussed provision in the Senate health care bill is designed to boost the number of hospital beds for psychiatric care, providing a long-sought victory for mental health advocates. The provision would amend an obscure Medicaid funding rule that has sharply limited the number of beds for those with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or other mental illnesses.Yet leading mental health groups say they see no reason to celebrate. (Szabo, 7/10)

Kaiser Health News: Medicaid Cuts Will Drive Up Cost Of Private Coverage, Montana Insurers Say
Montana was among the last states to expand Medicaid, and its Obamacare marketplace has fared reasonably well. It has 50,000 customers, decent competition and no “bare counties,” where no insurers want to sell plans. The Republicans who make up two-thirds of Montana’s congressional delegation have said they want to repeal the current health care law because it’s causing health insurance markets to “collapse.” (Whitney, 7/10)

NPR: Medicaid Spending On Addiction Treatment Has Risen Sharply
This week, as senators have decamped from Washington for the Fourth of July recess, the future of the Senate's Affordable Care Act replacement plan — and by extension, Medicaid — remains uncertain. Just days before the recess, a report from the Urban Institute, a public policy think tank, detailed big increases in Medicaid spending on opioid addiction treatment under the Affordable Care Act. It's a trend that could be reversed if the Senate's plan passes. (Fentem, 7/7)

Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune: Wyoming, 18 Other States Would Receive $737 Billion Less In Medicaid Money Than Other States Under Senate Bill
The Medicaid funding disparity between the 31 states that expanded the program and the 19 states that didn’t — which includes Wyoming — could reach $737 billion by 2026 under the Senate’s health care proposal, according to a report by hospital officials. The policy brief, which Wyoming officials submitted Friday to Gov. Matt Mead, Sens. John Barrasso and Mike Enzi and Rep. Liz Cheney, hopes to make clear to lawmakers that the Cowboy State “will continue to struggle” under the current Senate plan, said Eric Boley, the president of the Wyoming Hospital Association. (Klamann, 7/9)

Denver Post: The Faces Of Medicaid In Colorado
In Colorado, one of every five people receives health benefits through Medicaid. And their lives may be about to change dramatically. The revisions to Medicaid proposed in the Republican-backed health care plans currently in Congress would constitute the biggest restructuring of the program in generations, health experts agree. The plans would cut the growth of Medicaid spending by hundreds of billions of dollars nationwide and, for the first time, place strict dollar limits on how much the federal government contributes to Medicaid programs in each state. (Ingold, 7/9)

New Orleans Times-Picayune: 1 Year In, Louisiana Medicaid Expansion By The Numbers 
Louisiana expanded Medicaid coverage a year ago this month. To mark the anniversary, Gov. John Bel Edwards on Thursday (July 6) released a report touting the benefits of extending the government-funded health care program to more people, an issue on which he campaigned in 2015 and that he made a top priority upon taking office in January 2016. The governor's rosy report comes at a time when the federal program is threatened. The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a plan to curb federal spending on Medicaid, and the Senate Republican leadership is pushing a similar proposal. Edwards, a Democrat, says the rollback would result in people getting worse health care coverage and dying. (O'Donoghue, 7/7)

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