KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

States Struggle To Maintain Medicaid Programs Before Health Law Expansions Kick In

The Associated Press/Bloomberg BusinessWeek: "The Tennessee Senate on Thursday approved a bill to allow state hospitals to pay a fee to avoid $659 million in TennCare cuts. Democratic Gov. Phil Bredesen had originally proposed cutting $201 million from the state's expanded Medicaid program to help balance the states [sic] budget. Those cuts would be averted through the hospital assessment" (4/29).

The Denver Post: "Colorado can afford to add about 67,500 people to Medicaid and other government insurance next week, thanks to a new state law that requires hospitals to chip in toward the landmark initiative. Hospitals made their initial payments - and in return, received more state and federal cash to take care of needy patients - this month. The amount each hospital paid was worked out through a complicated formula that left some hospitals in the hole and others millions of dollars ahead of where they were before the new law" (Brown, 4/29).

The Associated Press/Bloomberg BusinessWeek, in a separate story: "The federal health care overhaul will greatly increase the number of North Dakota residents who are eligible for Medicaid, at a cost of about $106 million over eight years, the state Department of Human Services estimated Wednesday." The expansion will, for the first time, allow single people or married couples without children to be eligible if they meet income guidelines (4/29).

Kansas Health Institute: "The Senate Ways and Means Committee today revised the budget plan it approved last week, reducing a projected $486 million budget shortfall to about $406 million. Still to be done is a tax package to fully close the smaller budget gap that the new version of Senate Substitute for House Bill 2361 would create." The cuts largely avoided affecting health programs. But after some discussion, the panel "rejected a proposal to contract with a company that supporters said could gain the state $40 million in recovered Medicaid payments" (Shields, 4/29). 

California Watch/San Francisco Chronicle: "Three Medi-Cal pharmacy officials are under investigation by the state for failing to disclose flights, hotel rooms and meals paid for by nonprofit groups that are primarily funded by big drug makers. The three officials facing scrutiny had accepted about a dozen trips while they were in a position to make key decisions during the last three years involving $8.5 billion in spending on prescription drugs for the state's neediest residents." The investigation was triggered by an earlier California Watch story, an official said (Jewett, 4/30).


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