KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Three Of Four Children Covered By Medicaid Don’t Get Required Dental Care

Federal watchdog also finds that a quarter of these children don't see a dentist at all. Two key parts of the problem are that few dentists take the low Medicaid reimbursements and many consumers don't realize the importance of dental care. Other articles look at Medicaid news in Iowa, Nevada and Alaska.

The Associated Press: Many Children With Medicaid Not Getting Required Dental Care
Three out of four children covered by Medicaid in four states didn’t receive all required dental care over a recent two-year period, according to a federal report that recommends a government push to improve access to care. One in four such kids didn’t see a dentist at all, the Health and Human Services inspector general’s office said Monday. Among the reasons were that there were too few dentists accepting Medicaid patients and a lack of education about the importance of proper dental care. (Johnson, 1/25)

Des Moines Register: Judge: Iowa Medicaid Privatization Can Proceed
A Polk County judge on Friday rejected a request by multiple companies to force Iowa to suspend or terminate a plan to privatize management of its Medicaid program. Two of the companies — Aetna and WellCare — each sought a so-called “stay” prohibiting Gov. Terry Branstad and his administration from moving forward with a plan to pay their competitors as much as $504 million in the first year to manage the $4.2 billion program. Aetna, which was joined in its legal motion by Meridian, says unfair or unethical bidding practices should force the state to dump the plan and redo the bidding process. (Clayworth, 1/22)

Iowa Public Radio: Medicaid Privatization Continues, For Now
Iowa’s plans for the privatization of its Medicaid program will continue, at least for now. Two companies say Iowa was wrong to deny them contracts to manage Medicaid and wanted temporary stays, but Polk County District Court Judge Robert Blink was not persuaded. (Boden, 1/22)

Las Vegas Review-Journal: Potential Move To Privatize Some Medicaid Services In Nevada Draws Scrutiny
A possible move to privatize certain Medicaid services for the vulnerable continues to draw scrutiny in states across the country, including Nevada. Similar attempts have failed in at least one state in the past, and at least one other state is currently struggling. At least 102 people, including state employees, voiced strong opinions during a public session on Wednesday night in Clark County. Concerns expressed ranged from quality of care to disruption in services to potential job impacts among state employee. (Amaro, 1/23)

The Associated Press: Alaska Legislators To Focus On Budget, Medicaid This Week
The Senate Finance Committee plans to begin hearings Wednesday on bills aimed at containing and curbing costs in Alaska's Medicaid program. Medicaid reform is on the list of priorities for the Senate's Republican-led majority. The Walker administration has acknowledged that Medicaid, as is, is not sustainable. The state health department released recommendations from its consultants for further changes Friday, including a management program in which primary care providers coordinate enrollee care. (Bohrer, 1/25)

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