KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

One Medicaid Program Struggles With ‘Financial Tsunami’, California Confronts Medical Wait Times, And More

State Medicaid programs are facing trouble and looking for solutions. Meanwhile, California regulators face down medical wait times and local political candidates face the health care issue during their short campaign season.

NPR: Arizona's Medicaid program could face a "financial tsunami," the program's director said, as new enrollments increase from an average of 60,000 a year to an expected 300,000 this year. Arizona's program to provide health coverage to low-income people is one of the nation's broadest, covering about 1 in 5 residents (Brady, 9/1).

The Florida Times-Union: Florida's Medicaid program is attempting a money-saving experiment. It's moved thousands of enrollees into private managed-care programs which cut patient's bills over their first two years compared to fee-for-service patients, according to new reports. Though costs for some patients grew, that growth was slower than enrollees outside the program (Cox, 9/1).

KQED/NPR: California will provide new protections to medical consumers facing long wait times. "Under new state regulations that will take effect this fall, appointments for a nonurgent primary-care visit must be made available within 10 business days; a nonurgent appointment with a specialist, within 15 business days; and most urgent-care appointments must be available within two days" (Varney, 8/31).

The New York Times: "While it may it may be too soon to tell whether the current passion surrounding health care will carry over into next year's midterm elections, voters in California's 10th Congressional District will go to the polls on Tuesday in a race in which the issue has been front and center" (McKinley, 8/31).

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