KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Medicaid: Fla. Revamp Questions; Texas Hospitals Complain About Cuts

News outlets look at issues surrounding Medicaid funding in several states.

The Washington Post: Fla. Pilot Program To Cut Medicaid Costs Raises New Questions
To visit the low-rise medical offices dotting the sun-bleached highways of Broward County is to meet doctors and patients who complain of being guinea pigs in a social experiment gone wrong. They are part of a five-year pilot program designed to test whether Florida can reduce spending on Medicaid, the public insurance program for the poor and disabled, by largely turning the program over to for-profit HMOs. Success would mean getting a handle on one of the fastest-growing and most vexing expenditures confronting states. But it's unclear whether the pilot, which is also underway in four other counties, has achieved that (Aizenman, 5/11).

Health News Florida: Old People First On HMO List
In the Medicaid overhaul that just passed Florida's Legislature and awaits an almost-certain okay from Gov. Rick Scott, the elderly and disabled would be the first group to be required to enroll in managed care. If federal health officials approve the plan in the coming year, on July 2012 the state will officially begin lining up HMOs and provider-service networks to take on the population beginning in October 2013, according to a state timeline. Other Medicaid patients – mostly healthy children and pregnant women -- won't have to enter an MCO until 2014, although they can enroll sooner if they want (Gentry, 5/11). 

The Texas Tribune: Hospitals to Budget Conferees: Cuts Hit Us Too Hard
Texas hospitals have a pointed message for the lawmakers hashing out the final details of the 2012-13 budget: The proposed cuts hit them too hard. Steep Medicaid rates cuts, coupled with a 23 percent reduction in trauma funding, "will curtail growth in the health care sector ...," Dan Stultz, president and CEO of the Texas Hospital Association, wrote in a letter ... Hospitals say that neither the House nor the Senate budget adequately fund anticipated growth in Texas' Medicaid population, leaving a huge fiscal burden on hospitals (Ramshaw, 5/11).

The Lund Report (Oregon): Counties Concerned About Transformation's Impact On Community Mental Health
Those involved with Oregon's county mental health services are extremely concerned that the legislature's attempt to reform the Oregon Health Plan will decimate their ability to provide services for the mentally ill by taking away Medicaid funding. As it is currently drafted, the transformation bill (House Bill 3650) does not specify the relationship between counties and the "Coordinated Care Organizations" (CCOs) that would be responsible for integrating physical, oral and mental healthcare for OHP members and the dually eligible (those receiving both Medicaid and Medicare services) (Waldroupe, 5/11).

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.