KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Expansion Of Colo. Medicaid Program Slower Than Expected

Also in state Medicaid news is a report on a proposal to cut Illinois' costs and the controversy over funding in Minnesota's program.

Stateline: Life After the American Community Survey?
The U.S. Senate is expected to vote next month on an appropriations bill that could end the U.S. Census Bureau's survey of state and local population, income, health and other data. Known as the American Community Survey, the federally funded program continuously samples about 3.5 million households each year to produce crucial data used to divvy some $400 billion in government money to states and localities. ... Medicaid is the biggest federal program that relies on American Community Survey data to shift funding when states' average incomes rise or fall (Vestal, 5/22).

Denver Post: Colorado Medicaid Expansion Goes Slower Than Expected
Colorado Medicaid's expansion to adults without dependent children has gone slower than expected, with thousands of slots in the long-sought program still available. ... Colorado can afford only 10,000 adults in the joint federal-state funded program, while health officials calculated 50,000 would be eligible. The state set up a lottery system to handle the expected flood of demand. Instead, as the first group of clients gets enrolled for care, about 6,000 have finished the application process (Booth, 5/21).

The Associated Press/Chicago Sun-Times: Medicaid Proposal Makes Nearly $1.4 Billion In Cuts
Illinois moved closer to drastic Medicaid cuts Monday with proposed legislation that could excise nearly $1.4 billion from the state's program by shrinking benefits, such as regular adult dental care, and cutting payments to most hospitals and nursing homes. The measure, backed by Gov. Pat Quinn, falls short of the $2.7 billion in cuts that Quinn originally said would be needed to prevent the health care program for the poor and disabled from collapsing. … The measure, filed as a House amendment to a Senate bill, includes $240 million in payment rate cuts to hospitals and nursing homes. But it spares doctors from rate cuts, along with 51 rural community hospitals and about 20 urban hospitals that care for poor patients (Johnson, 5/21).

(St. Paul) Pioneer Press: Minnesota Medicaid Funding Questioned By Republicans In U.S. House
Republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives are asking more questions about federal funding for Minnesota's Medicaid program.  In a May 15 letter, three Republicans on the House's committee on oversight and government reform ask the state's human services commissioner to respond to a series of questions about whether Minnesota wrongly shifted excess federal funds in the Medicaid health insurance program to a state insurance fund (Snowbeck, 5/21).

Texas Tribune: State's Medicaid Chief Retiring
Billy Millwee, who oversees the state's giant Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance programs, will retire in August. … It's a complicated time for Medicaid. Whether the U.S. Supreme Court upholds federal health reform legislation will largely determine the future of the program, and how many more Texans will be added to the state's already staggering rolls. In 2011, facing a massive budget shortfall, lawmakers had to take the ax to Medicaid programs to balance the budget (Ramshaw, 5/21).

California Healthline: Healthy Families Conversion Slowing Down
California health officials need to go a little slower in their plan to move 875,000 children out of the Healthy Families program and into Medi-Cal managed care, according to a Senate budget subcommittee that voted yesterday to reject the state's full plan. It did endorse the transition of about 200,000 Healthy Families "bright line" children to Medi-Cal -- those beneficiaries at or below 133% of federal poverty level. The Affordable Care Act requires that those children be moved to Medi-Cal by 2014, so California would get a head start on that effort, according to John Bacigalupi from the state Department of Finance (Gorn, 5/22).

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