KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

GOP Leaders Ask Governors For Ideas On Medicaid Savings, Improvements

Meanwhile, Rhode Island's Medicaid block grant experiment draws attention, as do efforts in other states to reduce Medicaid's rolls.

CQ HealthBeat: Republicans To Governors: Give Us Your Medicaid Ideas
A top House and Senate Republican wrote to the nation's governors Monday to ask for suggestions on how to find savings in and improve Medicaid. The letter from House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton of Michigan and Senate Finance ranking member Orrin G. Hatch of Utah said the quality of medical care provided by Medicaid, the federal-state health program for the poor, is not as good as that provided to Medicare or privately insured patients (Adams, 5/23).

Modern Healthcare: GOP Lawmakers Ask Governors For Ideas On Improving Medicaid
Republican leaders in both chambers of Congress on Monday sent a letter to the nation's 50 governors asking for their ideas on how to improve the Medicaid program. Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), ranking member on the Senate Finance Committee, expressed concern about the quality of care provided to Medicaid recipients and the levels of waste, fraud and abuse in the program. The letter said that Medicaid is bankrupting federal and state budgets, and that the federal government will spend $4.6 trillion on Medicaid over the next 10 years (Zigmond, 5/23).

Kaiser Health News: GOP Pushes To Let States Reduce Medicaid Rolls
Kaiser Health News staff writers Mary Agnes Carey and Phil Galewitz report: "With their proposal to turn Medicaid into block grants all but dead, Republicans now are pushing legislation to let states tighten eligibility rules for the health program for the poor and disabled" (Carey and Galewitz, 5/23).

Philadelphia Inquirer: Christie Eyes Curb On Medicaid Rolls
Gov. Christie plans to seek approval for a proposal that would deny Medicaid coverage to adults in a family of four with an annual household income of little more than $6,000, down from the current $30,000. A single mother raising three children who earned as little as $118 a week would not qualify for the government-funded medical coverage. The eligibility-requirement change, which must be cleared by the Obama administration and would apply only to new adult Medicaid applicants, would follow Christie's eliminating - for the second year - a long-standing line item that would provide nearly $7.5 million in funding to family-planning clinics (Katz and Rao, 5/23).

McClatchy: Rhode Island's Medicaid Experiment Draws Raves, Suspicion
Nearly 1,300 elderly and disabled adults, such as Tesarek, have been able to leave Rhode Island nursing facilities or avoid them altogether under a pilot program designed to cut spending on Medicaid, the federal-state health plan for the poor. Many states steer certain Medicaid patients into assisted-living and home-care settings, where they have greater independence. Rhode Island's effort, however, has garnered national attention in conservative circles not because of what it does but because of how it's funded. Rhode Island is the first and only state with a block grant-like spending cap for its entire Medicaid program (Pugh, 5/23).

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