KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

N.J. Seeks Waiver To Trim Medicaid Rolls; Texas Trims Medicaid Budget

News outlets report on Medicaid issues in the states.

The Wall Street Journal: Christie Seeks Tighter Limits On Medicaid
New Jersey is trying to deal with bulging Medicaid costs by trimming new eligibility for the government health-care program to the bare bones. The Christie administration wants to cut the state's relatively generous program way back as part of a "waiver" it is seeking from the Obama administration. Overall, it's looking to save about $540 million, including $300 million through the waiver (Fleisher, 5/20).

The Texas Tribune: House Tentatively OKs Medicaid Fiscal Reform Bill
The state House tentatively passed a health care bill intended to increase efficiency and cost savings in Texas' expensive Medicaid programs today - but not before adding a far-ranging variety of amendments. Medicaid fraud, abortion and immigration issues all entered the debate, causing stirs, jeers and cheers among members. ... The largest cost-saving measure in the bill would save $290 million by expanding managed care coverage - i.e. pay state selected insurance providers to manage the health care of Medicaid clients - to the Rio Grande Valley. Many urban areas in Texas, including Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin, already use managed care plans (Aaronson, 5/19).

Georgia Health News: Deal Vetoes Bill On Medicaid Audit Contractors
This week's vetoes by Gov. Nathan Deal included a little-noticed bill related to Medicaid. House Bill 489 would have barred the state from paying a contingency fee to a contractor to recover Medicaid overpayments to doctors and hospitals. Implementing the bill would have put Georgia's Medicaid program in conflict with federal law, Deal said in his veto message. ... House Bill 489 was a response to the health care reform requirement that states establish a Medicaid recovery audit contractor program, as they have done with the federal Medicare program (Miller, 5/19).

Stateline: Florida Hopes Its Future Looks Like The Past
Florida expects to save $1 billion on Medicaid by expanding a pilot program that enrolls all patients, including the elderly and disabled, in managed care plans. A study of the pilot program, which has been going on in five counties since 2007, shows little evidence that it saved any money at all. To go statewide with the program, Florida will need a waiver from the Obama administration (Vestal, 5/20).

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