KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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WellCare Files Appeal Over Terminated Medicaid Contract With Iowa

The company alleges Gov. Terry Branstad made serious errors when kicking it out of the new program he hopes to use to move the state's Medicaid patients into private managed care plans. Elsewhere, the Nebraska Public Service Commission lays out new regulations on how taxi companies treat Medicaid patients they are transporting; the former Medicaid director of Texas talks about managed care plans; and, in Idaho, reimbursement rates for health care providers are back to 2012 levels.

The Des Moines Register: WellCare: Iowa Official Erred On Medicaid Conclusions
Serious errors were made by an appointee of Gov. Terry Branstad in terminating a multimillion dollar contract to privatize Medicaid, a company has alleged in newly filed court documents. As a result, WellCare says the state should be required to reinstate its contract that was terminated last week. The appeal filed Wednesday in Polk County District Court launches what a legal expert said is likely the beginning of a long and costly battle over Gov. Terry Branstad’s already controversial plan. (Clayworth, 12/23)

KIMT: Mercy Signs With Medicaid Companies Prior To Managed Care
Mercy Medical Center of North Iowa is announcing they will be signing on with two private Medicare companies as part of the new managed care. Mercy officials say they’ve signed contracts with AmeriHealth Caritas and Wellcare Health. Gov. Terry Branstad’s highly controversial change to privately-managed care is set to take effect January 1, 2016 in an effort to make the program more efficient. (Ismail, 12/23)

The Lincoln Journal Star: Disabled Riders Don't Have To Share Cabs, State Regulators Say
Cab companies can't force elderly and disabled people to share taxis with others whose rides are paid for by Medicaid, state regulators have ordered. The move by the Nebraska Public Service Commission is intended to stop the controversial practice of "multiloading" riders without their permission. ... Many of those riders had complained about multiloading, saying their medical conditions required them to spend as little time as possible in a cab. And Omaha-based Happy Cab, which does not multiload its taxis without passengers' permission, filed a complaint against Lincoln-based Servant Cab, which did. (Pluhacek, 12/23)

KTVB (Boise, Idaho): Medicaid Reimbursement Rates Back To 2012 Levels
Starting February 1, some Medicaid reimbursements will be dropping by nearly 50 percent. The rate adjustment is the result of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling this year. The ruling upheld the state's ability to set reimbursement rates for Medicaid services. In 2011, a group of health care providers filed the suit against the state of Idaho. The group asking for the state to increase their Medicaid reimbursements. (Johnson, 12/23)

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