KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Some States See Opening For Key Medicaid Changes With Trump Administration

At least six states have submitted waiver requests to make significant revisions to their Medicaid programs. Meanwhile, Pennsylvania announced it will expand Medicaid coverage for hepatitis C, and Oregon says it is checking to see if some enrollees got benefits without meeting income requirements for the program.

Governing: 6 States Hoping To Revamp Medicaid In The Trump Era
With Donald Trump in the White House and Tom Price leading the Health and Human Services (HHS) Department, conservative states will likely see their long-denied wishes [to revamp Medicaid] come true. Both officials support giving states more flexibility than the Obama administration, and a final bill to replace the ACA would likely increase states' power as well. So in the early days of the Trump administration, some governors enthusiastically submitted waivers. .... If some of these proposals get the greenlight as expected, they could drastically change the structure of Medicaid in their states and have national implications. These are the six states with planned or submitted waivers worth watching. (Quinn, 5/15)

The Philadelphia Inquirer: In Major Shift, Pa. To Expand Hepatitis C Treatment For Medicaid Patients
Under pressure from advocacy organizations that had threatened a lawsuit, the Wolf administration said Tuesday that it would expand Medicaid coverage for treatment of hepatitis C, a major change that many states have put off over fear of spiraling costs. ... Until now, state policy had been to wait until patients showed signs of liver damage before approving treatment. Allowing earlier treatment was recommended one year ago Wednesday by the department’s Pharmacy and Therapeutics Committee. (Sapatkin, 5/16)

The Oregonian: State Of Oregon Says It May Have Dispensed Millions To Ineligible Medicaid Recipients
The state of Oregon said Tuesday it had dispensed millions of dollars in Medicaid assistance to thousands of Oregonians with no idea whether they were eligible. The Oregon Health Authority says it is working to clarify whether as many as 115,000 Medicaid recipients have incomes low enough to qualify for the benefits they have been receiving. As the Affordable Care Act vastly expanded the Medicaid population in Oregon, the state got approval to skip the normal once-a-year eligibility check on its Medicaid clients. Recipients did qualify initially, agency officials said, but the state failed to check to ensure they still qualified. (Manning, 5/16)

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