KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Price Says At Town Hall Meeting That Giving States More Medicaid Flexibility Will Overcome Funding Cuts

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price is sharply questioned during a televised meeting about Republican plans to cut Medicaid funding. Also in the news are reports about a recent letter Price and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Director Seema Verma sent states about their flexibility on Medicaid procedures, doctor reimbursement issues in Georgia and a long-running controversy in Iowa.

Politico: Price Dodges On Medicaid Rollback, Immunization
Confronted by Medicaid recipients during a televised town hall event on CNN, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price offered few details Wednesday when asked to explain the reasoning behind the GOP's plan to roll back the health care program. The town hall got off to a confrontational start when several attendees, who identified themselves as Medicaid recipients through the Affordable Care Act's expansion, questioned the logic behind the push by House Republicans to revamp and reduce Medicaid. (Lima, 3/16)

Modern Healthcare: Sec. Price: Loss Of Billions In Funding Won't Harm Medicaid Program
If states get more flexibility to run their Medicaid programs, a loss of billions in funding won't harm care for beneficiaries, HHS Secretary Tom Price said during a CNN town hall Wednesday night. ... "You're falling into the same old trap of individuals who are measuring the success of Medicaid by how much money we put into it,” Price said. “We ought not be measuring programs by how much money we put into it, we ought to be measuring them by whether or not they work.” (Dickson, 3/15)

CNN: Trump Administration Open To Making Some Medicaid Recipients Work, Pay Premiums
In keeping with Republican views, [Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services] and Price are looking to more closely align Medicaid with the private insurance market to better prepare working-age, non-disabled recipients to transition off government assistance. Among the reforms they suggested are imposing premiums or other cost-sharing requirements. States would also be allowed to enforce these premiums so that those who don't pay could lose their coverage. (Luhby and Christensen, 3/15)

Georgia Health News: Payment Confusion: How A Medicaid Rate Gap Squeezes Some Doctors 
Starting in 2015, the Georgia Medicaid program, with state funding, restored higher pay rates for some medical visit codes, then added more the following year. But if doctors had not attested during 2013 and 2014, they couldn’t get the pay bump. And location matters. If physicians move to another city or work in a different office from where they “attested,’’ they can’t get the added pay in the new location. (Miller, 3/15)

Des Moines Register: Medicaid Firms Spending Less On Care For Iowa's Poor, Disabled
The three private firms running Iowa’s Medicaid program have found ways to trim spending on care for the poor or disabled Iowans they cover, a new report suggests. But all three continue to lose tens of millions of dollars on the controversial project. The companies’ per-member monthly spending on health care for adults fell by as much as 28 percent from the three months ending in September 2016 to the three months ending in December 2016, the new report shows. (Leys, 3/15)

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