KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Florida, California, Kansas Eyeing Cuts in Medicaid Funding

The Daytona Beach News-Journal reports that as the recession continues to increase the number of people without jobs, many more are seeking health care through the state's Medicaid program, "driving up costs and playing a major role in a potential $3 billion state budget shortfall next year. The shortfall could lead to cuts in Medicaid ... while also forcing lawmakers to make tough election-year spending choices among health and education programs. ... Florida has grappled with increasing Medicaid costs for years, but projections for the 2010-11 year are eye-opening: The program could serve nearly 3 million people -- at an overall cost of about $19.1 billion" (Saunders, 1/24).

The Ithaca Journal reports that fate of the national health care legislation will affect New York state's budget. "That's because problems related to New York's federal Medicaid reimbursement formula could evaporate if congressional Democrats decide to significantly scale back their goals for health care reform. The bill the Senate passed on Dec. 24 would increase the state's new Medicaid costs by at least $1 billion by expanding eligibility and requiring coverage" (Tumulty, 1/22).

The Modesto Bee reports on possible cuts for a Modesto senior care program. "As the dominoes fall in California's social services system, the DMC Foundation of Modesto is determined to keep its programs alive. The future of its Alzheimer's day service was threatened in October when Gov. Schwarzenegger blue-penciled its funding in the state budget. The nonprofit foundation opened a thrift store in November, generating $5,100 a month to sustain the program." But the program is again facing state cuts in its adult day health services. "Schwarzenegger's recent budget proposal would eliminate adult day care funding in March, taking $1.2 million from the Modesto program that serves seniors who have Parkinson's disease, are recovering from stroke or cancer, or dealing with other physical impairments" (Carlson, 1/25)

The Associated Press/CNBC: "Facing a massive gap in Medicaid funding, Georgia's top health official on Thursday urged state legislators to adopt a tax hike on hospitals and health care plans. The state is staring down a $506 million shortfall in Medicaid funds for the fiscal year that begins July 1, according to state Health Commissioner Rhonda Medows. The recession has caused enrollment in the health program for the needy to soar. Medicaid rolls for low-income residents have jumped 7.7 percent from June 2009 to 2010 to more than 1 million people. Meanwhile, hundreds of millions of dollars in federal stimulus money are about to dry up" (1/24).

MissouriNet: "Governor Nixon recommends a 120-million dollar funding cut for the Medicaid program. But the administration thinks the cuts will be mostly painless. More than half of the cuts will come through better service reviews and in reductions in payments to providers, especially longterm care providers. ... The state promises to do a better job of charging those costs to other insurers. State budget director Linda Luebbering says no services will be eliminated and no cuts will be made in eligibility. But better care management will be emphasized" (Priddy, 1/24).

The Topeka Capital Journal reports on possible cuts for programs for the disabled: "Communityworks inc. helps those with disabilities transition from medical care to supported living. ... However, communityworks inc. - like many agencies that serve Kansans with disabilities through Medicaid-funded programs - was forced to cut its budget by 10 percent on Jan. 1 in response to the state's budget crisis. In his State of the State address earlier this month, Gov. Mark Parkinson said the state should raise the sales tax by 1 cent for 36 months to offset the estimated $400 million shortfall in the budget. After that, he said, Medicaid cuts likely could be restored" (Biles, 1/24). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.