KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Officials Examine Medicaid Coverage, Quality In Context Of Burgeoning Costs

Growing demand for Medicaid services puts a burden on states as they wrestle with tight budgets and patient quality issues.

Chicago Sun-Times: Medicaid Birth Coverage Fact Of Life 
Among the facts of life when trying to balance the Illinois budget is this: Medicaid plays a huge role in paying for childbirth in Illinois. It's not going to change any time soon and illustrates why lawmakers may have so much difficulty reining in spending this year. As Gov. Pat Quinn noted in his budget address last month, more than 50 percent of all Illinois births are paid for by the state and federal health care program for the poor and disabled. In part, that's because Illinois has fairly liberal income eligibility levels for pregnant women compared to other states (Johnson, 3/12).

The Connecticut Mirror: Providers: Communications Glitch Keeping Patients From Getting Meds 
More than 5,000 people in the HUSKY program for low-income children and their parents had ... problems filling prescriptions during a 10-month period in 2008 and 2009. Medicaid, like most insurance plans, has a list of drugs it regularly covers. If a health care provider prescribes a drug not on the list, he or she must submit documentation about why it's necessary before the plan will cover it. Because health plans have different lists of routinely covered drugs, prescribers don't always know when they need to get approval for a prescription (Levin Becker, 3/9).

The Associated Press/Wall Street Journal: NY Dems, Patient Advocates Seek New Drug Policy
Influential black legislative leaders as well as patient advocacy groups targeting mental illness, arthritis, diabetes, AIDS and other chronic diseases and conditions are pushing to get the Cuomo administration to relax a cost-cutting measure that they say forces patients to use inadequate medications (3/11).

Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: As U.S. Health Care Changes Near, State's Medicaid Costs Still Unknown
Whether federal health care reform will require Wisconsin to spend more or less money on Medicaid should be a fairly simple question nearly two years after Congress passed the historic law. Apparently it isn't. And hundreds of millions of dollars in state spending could hinge on the answer (Boulton, 3/10).

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