KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Wisconsin Seeks To Revamp Medicaid With Drug Tests And Premium Requirements

The state must seek federal approval for the changes. Meanwhile, in Kansas, several hospitals are in financial crisis, and their supporters blame the governor's refusal to accept Medicaid expansion.

Modern Healthcare: Wisconsin Medicaid Proposal Includes Drug Tests, Premiums
Wisconsin on Monday unveiled plans to overhaul Medicaid by requiring members to pay insurance premiums and undergo a drug screening to participate in the program. The state's Department of Health Services said it will submit a waiver request to the CMS on May 26, following public comment. The proposal looks a lot like the one used in Indiana's Medicaid expansion known as Healthy Indiana 2.0, which is facing renewed scrutiny following reports that the state used misleading and inaccurate information to justify an extension. (Livingston, 4/17)

The (Madison, Wis.) Capital Times: Critics: Scott Walker’s Plan To Drug Test Medicaid Applicants Would Backfire
An official in the Walker administration said the measure aims to help individuals transition to work. During a Monday media call sponsored by Citizen Action of Wisconsin and Wisconsin Council on Children and Families, public health experts criticized Walker's plan, saying it won’t reduce the burden on taxpayers or set up effective support for drug users. “It may be very good politics for a governor's race, but that's mostly what it is. It’s horrendous public policy,” said Robert Kraig, executive director of Citizen Action of Wisconsin. (Speckhard, 4/17)

Wisconsin Public Radio: Wisconsin Takes Step Toward Drug Testing For Medicaid Recipients
Under the proposal, people who refuse or fail a drug test would be ineligible for benefits. Individuals who fail the test would be referred to a substance abuse treatment program. Dr. Rich Brown, a substance use prevention expert at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health, said the move to mandatory testing would work against Republican-authored bills known as the HOPE Agenda, which are aimed at fighting opioid abuse in Wisconsin. (White, 4/17)

KCUR: New Attention To Struggles Of Kansas Hospitals Fuels Medicaid Expansion Effort 
Renewed attention to the financial struggles of several Kansas hospitals is giving supporters of Medicaid expansion a potentially powerful argument as they work to build a veto-proof majority for a new bill. ... Republican Gov. Sam Brownback’s rejection of expansion was a factor in the 2015 closure of Mercy Hospital in Independence. Now, numerous sources say St. Francis Health in Topeka could be on the brink of shutting its doors after more than 100 years of operation. (McLean, 4/17)

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