KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Seniors May Face Some Frustrations When Turning To Medicaid To Help Cover Care

USA Today examines some of the difficulties in having Medicaid pay for elder care. Also in Medicaid news, Arkansas' governor lays out his plans for revamping the state's Medicaid system.

USA Today: Navigating Medicaid For Elder Care Can Be As Painful As The Ailments
You have to be very impoverished or very sick to qualify for Medicaid late in life. No wonder people put off thinking about it. It's also hardly the way most of us would want to live out our final days — or years. Depending on whether your state has special waivers allowing for limited at-home care, most Medicaid care will mean sharing a nursing home room with other people. ... You're also going to need massive documentation. And if you or a loved one wants care at home, you'll likely wait a long time, warns [Howard] Gleckman. In his home state of Maryland, the waiting list for an at-home caregiver covered by Medicaid is about three years. (O'Donnell and Ungar, 3/23)

The Associated Press: Hutchinson At Town Hall Warns Of Turmoil Without Medicaid Plan
Arkansas' health care system and its budget will face turmoil if state lawmakers don't keep the state's hybrid Medicaid expansion, Gov. Asa Hutchinson warned at a town hall Tuesday aimed at rallying support for the program. The Republican said he will release in the coming days draft legislation for his plan to keep and rework the state's expansion, which uses federal funds to purchase private insurance for low-income residents. Hutchinson has proposed adding new restrictions to the program, which covers more than 250,000 people. (3/22)

Arkansas News: Governor Holds Town Hall Meeting On Medicaid Plan
The governor said ending Medicaid expansion at this point would create “turmoil” in the health care marketplace, leave “a huge hole” in the state budget and create a fairness issue because federal subsidies for health insurance would remain available to people earning 100 percent of the federal poverty level but would cease to be available to people earning below that level. Hutchinson outlined his plan to replace the private option with a similar program that would be called Arkansas Works. The plan, which he will ask legislators to approve next month, would add features including: Mandatory referral to work or work training for unemployed, able-bodied recipients. Premiums of $19 per month and 2 percent co-pays for recipients earning more than 100 percent of the federal poverty level. (Lyon, 3/22)

Arkansas Online: Governor: Health Cutoff Unfair
In proposing changes to Arkansas' Medicaid expansion program, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday evening that he wants to encourage work and personal responsibility while keeping the needs of the state's poorest residents in mind. "We're not trying to create hardships," Hutchinson said at what he described as a "town hall" meeting at Central Baptist College in Conway attended by about 100 people. "We're trying to move people up the economic ladder." The Arkansas Legislature will meet in a special sessionthat begins April 6 to consider changes to the expanded Medicaid program. That program covers about 267,000 low-income Arkansans. (Davis, 3/23)

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