KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Obama Administration Rejects Calif. Medicaid Co-Pay Proposal

The Obama administration said "no" Monday to a California proposal designed to help close a budget gap. Elsewhere, Texas is planning a change to how it pays for charity care in its Medicaid program.

The Associated Press/San Francisco Chronicle: Obama Administration Rejects Medi-Cal Copayments Federal health officials on Monday said California cannot force Medi-Cal recipients to make a co-pay for doctor visits and prescription drugs, a decision that brings relief to low-income patients but complicates the state's effort to close a $9.2 billion budget deficit. A letter from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said agency officials were "unable to identify the legal and policy support" for the state's request (Lin, 2/6).

Bloomberg: Obama Blocks California From Charging For Care In Medicaid
California’s co-payments would have ranged from $3 to $5 for drugs to $100 per day for hospital stays. Doctor visits would have been $5, and emergency room treatment $50. Medicaid, the U.S. health insurance program for the poor, is run by states and the federal government, with the U.S. approving changes in eligibility standards by granting waivers from national law. The program is among the biggest expenses for states (Wayne, 2/6).

The Sacramento Bee: Federal Officials Reject California's Plan To Charge Medi-Cal Co-Payments
Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers relied on mandatory Medi-Cal co-payments to save $511 million in last year's state budget and presumed that the state would continue saving in future years. The plan to charge low-income Medi-Cal patients and let doctors refuse care for nonpayment was unprecedented for a state on such a wide scale (Yamamura, 2/7).

Houston Chronicle: Medicaid Changes Challenge Hospitals To Do Things Differently
The goal is lofty: improve and expand health care for millions of Texans. But with billions of dollars at stake and the new project under way before the rules are even written, decisions made over the next few months are causing anxiety in many Harris County hospitals. The new rules - part of a complicated, first-of-its-kind project approved by the federal government - will determine who gets paid for providing charity care, and how much (Kever and Ackerman, 2/6).

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