KHN Morning Briefing

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Democratic Senators In Iowa Press Bill To Stop Medicaid Privatization

But Republican leaders of the House say they are not interested in considering the measure. News outlets also look at Medicaid news in Virginia and Kansas.

Des Moines Register: Iowa Senate To Pass Medicaid Privatization Repeal
Iowa Senate Democrats say they will approve a bill next week to repeal Gov. Terry Branstad's plan to privatize Iowa's Medicaid program. However, House Republicans are signaling that the measure will be dead on arrival when they receive it. ... The state-federal Medicaid health insurance program serves about 560,000 low-income and disabled Iowans at a cost of about $4.2 billion annually. Branstad, a Republican, has pushed for outside management of Medicaid to control costs and improve patient outcomes. But the scheduled Jan. 1 implementation of the change was delayed by federal officials until at least March 1 because of numerous problems that have arisen. (Petroski, 2/4)

Iowa Public Radio: Democrats: Repeal Medicaid Privatization
Democrats say privatizing Medicaid will disrupt long-standing relations between patients and providers and compromise patient care. Their bill would cancel the contracts with three for-profit, out of state companies chosen to manage the program. Democrats report numerous complaints from Medicaid patients and their families. Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer is also hearing from constituents. “I’m hearing people with questions and the reason we’re having so many questions is because we’re spending our time protecting the status quo instead of moving forward,” Upmeyer says. “Any change is a challenge for all of us.” (Russell, 2/4)

The Associated Press: Iowa Democrats Propose Bill To End Medicaid Privatization
Republican House Speaker Linda Upmeyer said the bill would have no chance of passing in her chamber and that she is disappointed that opponents continue to fight Branstad's privatization plan. "I'm certainly not interested in passing any bill that faces a certain veto, so that's probably not something we'll do," she said. Upmeyer said the current Medicaid system continually uses up more state funding and has problems because it doesn't focus on wellness, chronic disease management and making people better. (Pitt, 3/4)

Modern Healthcare: Virginia Seeks Medicaid Waiver To Use Managed Care; Won't Renew Duals Demo
Virginia has submitted a waiver to transform its Medicaid program and move the state's most vulnerable populations into managed care. The 1115 waiver seeks approval from the CMS to implement two initiatives. The first is to transition blind, elderly and disabled people into capitated health plans. This group includes individuals dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare. As a result the state plans to allow a demonstration it now has to coordinate care for duals to end next year. The second part of the waiver requests a Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program to allow the state to use federal Medicaid funding to create financial incentives for providers to pursue delivery-system reforms. (Dickson, 2/4)

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