KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Oregon Offers Guide To States Eyeing Potential Of Putting Medicaid Enrollees In Private Insurance

In the last days of Georgia's General Assembly, lawmakers eliminate cuts in Medicaid payments to providers, while the state's Medicaid agency gives initial approval to a hospital fee. In Kansas, possible reductions in KanCare services draw advocates' concern, and California's Medi-Cal interpreters are pushed to unionize.

Kaiser Health News: Oregon Shows Costs Of Putting Medicaid Enrollees In Private Coverage
The Arkansas plan to expand Medicaid by paying for enrollees to buy private health insurance has been billed as a new option for states led by Republicans who are leery of the federal health overhaul. And it's getting attention from Republican leaders in Florida and Ohio, among other states. However, the strategy is not new. Oregon has been using this model for more than a decade --- with mixed results (Galewitz, 3/29).

Georgia Health News: Legislating Health: The 2013 Results
Health care providers received good budgetary news Thursday, the final day of this year's Georgia General Assembly. The agreement between the House and the Senate on fiscal 2014 (July 2013 through June 2014) eliminated cuts in payments for Medicaid services to dentists, nursing homes and other medical providers. Gov. Nathan Deal’s original budget proposed a 0.74 percent reduction for providers other than hospitals, hospices, primary care physicians, and some clinics (Miller, 3/28).

Georgia Health News: State Agency Board OKs Hospital Provider Fee
The board of the state's Medicaid agency gave initial approval Thursday to the hospital provider fee mechanism, paving the way for renewal of the current formula in July. The next step is for the Department of Community Health to submit the proposal to federal officials, who have 90 days to approve it. The current provider fee runs out June 30. The renewal is expected to fill a hole of nearly $500 million in the financially squeezed Medicaid budget. Legislation that sped through the General Assembly this year transferred decisions on the assessment from the Legislature itself to Community Health (Miller, 3/28).

Kansas Health Institute: Advocates Raise Concerns Over Possible Reductions In KanCare Services
The head of an advocacy program for the disabled said he doubts the agency would be able to help many KanCare beneficiaries who protest cuts in the services they receive…Nichols said the center, which is federally funded, recently learned that its already stretched budget had been cut by 15 percent (Ranney, 3/28).

Sacramento Bee: Lawmakers Push To Unionize, Regulate Medi-Cal Interpreters
Thousands of Medi-Cal medical interpreters would have the right to join a public employees union and collectively bargain with the state under a legislative push to regulate that profession. Assembly Speaker John A. Perez is leading the drive, fueled by a major public employees union and sparked in part by federal subsidies for Medi-Cal expansion as part of national health care changes. Perez's Assembly Bill 1263 would create an oddity in which Medi-Cal interpreters would remain independent contractors but would pay dues to a public employees union for representation. They would be guaranteed at least $60 an hour (Sanders, 3/28).

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