KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Iowa Senate Passes Bill To Tighten Oversight Of Private Plans Managing Medicaid

The bipartisan effort faces an uncertain future in the House. In Oklahoma, the House passes a cost-cutting bill that will take 111,000 people off Medicaid. News services also report on Medicaid developments in Georgia and Kansas.

Des Moines Register: Medicaid Oversight Bill Passes Iowa Senate After Emotional Debate
Senate File 2213 is aimed at strengthening Gov. Terry Branstad's plans for managed care of the state-federal Medicaid program, which serves 560,000 low-income and disabled people at a cost of about $4.2 billion annually. The bill passed 32-16, with six Republicans joining Democrats in support. The measure now heads to the Iowa House, where it faces an uncertain future. (Petroski, 3/2)

Sioux City (Iowa) Journal: Senate Approves Expanded Medicaid Oversight
Included in the 48-page bill were provisions to enhance the role and responsibilities of the Health Policy Oversight Committee, execute a comprehensive review of program integrity, and create a special fund to finance system improvements and support for recipients. ... House GOP leaders have not expressed interest in expanding lawmakers’ oversight beyond their current role, and Branstad has questioned adding requirements on MCOs as Iowa moves from a fee-for-service model to a system he says will encourage better health outcomes and reward providers for improvements. (Boshart, 3/2)

The Associated Press: Oklahoma House Passes Bill Cutting 111,000 From Medicaid
Facing a $1.3 billion hole in next year's budget, the Oklahoma House on Wednesday passed legislation that would cut 111,000 Oklahoma residents with dependents from Medicaid and potentially save up to $130 million in state-appropriated health care funds. But implementation of the measure is dependent on the federal government's approval of a waiver that would permit the state to exclude adults younger than 65 who are not pregnant, deaf, blind or disabled from the program, said Jo Kilgore, a spokeswoman for the Oklahoma Health Care Authority, the state's Medicaid provider. (Talley, 3/2)

KTUL (Tulsa, Okla.): Proposed Medicaid Cuts Could Leave Thousands Without Health Care
The author of House Bill 2665, State Representative Doug Cox said it's a way to help fix the state's budget problems. "As you know, we have a $1.3 billion shortfall this year," said Cox. ... "I felt like this was the least vulnerable population, because, by definition, since they are able-bodied adults, they can work," said Cox. Susan Savage, CEO for Morton Comprehensive Health Center, said for many people benefiting from Medicaid, work isn't the problem. "These are working men and women," said Savage. "I would feel better about the decision if their employers offered health care, but they don't. Many companies don't now in Oklahoma." (Norris, 3/2)

Georgia Health News: Appeals Rejected: State Agency Upholds Medicaid Contract Award
A state agency has rejected the protests of three losing bidders over the state’s selection of vendors for a multibillion-dollar Medicaid and PeachCare contract. Unsuccessful bidders AmeriChoice (a unit of UnitedHealthcare), Humana and AmeriHealth Caritas had appealed a September decision by the Department of Administrative Services (DOAS) to award the contract to four other bidders. (Miller, 3/2)

The Kansas Health Institute News Service: Disability Advocates Seek Another Delay On Medicaid Waiver Integration
A dozen disability advocacy groups lined up Wednesday to voice their concerns about a Medicaid waiver integration proposal during a two-hour hearing before a special legislative subcommittee. Four members of the House Health and Human Services Committee heard from people representing Kansans with an array of disabilities, all of whom want the state to slow the integration process and provide more information about the plan. (Marso, 3/2)

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