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Latest Kaiser Health News Stories

Even If Louisiana Governor Is Ousted By GOP Rival, His Hallmark Medicaid Expansion Likely Isn’t Going Anywhere

KHN Morning Briefing

Gov. John Bel Edwards made Louisiana the only state in the Deep South to embrace Medicaid expansion. The line of attack from his two main opponents, though, isn’t about the expansion itself but about the implementation, which suggests that if one of them wins they won’t take steps to rollback the coverage. Medicaid news comes out of North Carolina, as well.

Tennessee Reveals $7.9B Plan To Shift Medicaid Into Controversial Block Grant System

KHN Morning Briefing

The plan’s likelihood of ever being implemented, however, remains largely unknown. To date, no state has been given permission to rely solely on block grants to cover Medicaid expenses. Gov. Bill Lee, however, remains hopeful, pointing to the fact that the Trump administration has been encouraging states to take more control of their programs.

Judge Sides With Hospitals Over Medicare Payments For Clinic Visits

KHN Morning Briefing

U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer said in her ruling that the Trump administration overstepped its authority when issuing its so-called site-neutral pay policy. The decision is a big win for hospitals, who in their original complaint led by the American Hospital Association projected cuts of about $380 million this year and $760 million in 2020. In other CMS news: skilled-nursing facilities and bundled radiation therapy payments.

More People Actually Went To Emergency Department For Non-Urgent Issues When Medicaid Was Expanded

KHN Morning Briefing

The study counters a common talking point that expanding the program would get people to stop using the emergency department in non-emergency situations. The author say it’s not surprising because patients under Medicaid don’t have to fear debt collection, removing one big barrier that could deter someone from a hospital visit. So those visits may be perceived as more convenient than a regular doctor’s office, which can be difficult as many providers don’t take Medicaid.

Advocates Want Missouri Voters To Weigh In On Whether State Should Expand Medicaid

KHN Morning Briefing

Backers of Medicaid expansion in other states have seen success in previous elections when the issue goes in front of voters. The campaign, which is backed by nurses, doctors, hospitals, business executives and health care advocates, needs more than 172,000 signatures to qualify their measure for the 2020 ballot. Other Medicaid news comes out of Florida.

Amid Fight Over Medicaid Contracts, Louisiana Issues Emergency Orders So Coverage Isn’t Disrupted

KHN Morning Briefing

The new round of Medicaid contracts–worth several billion dollars–was blocked by Louisiana’s state procurement office on Wednesday. The dust up over the new contracts has intensified since the health department announced its new picks for the lucrative Medicaid managed care work, in early August. Other Medicaid news comes out of Virginia and Idaho.

Advocates Ask Nebraska Supreme Court To Force State To Implement Medicaid Expansion Faster

KHN Morning Briefing

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of two Nebraska residents who are currently uninsured but would be eligible for expanded Medicaid. State officials have argued they need to implement expansion methodically, and the 2020 implementation date gives them time to make sure the rollout is relatively glitch-free. Medicaid news comes out of Kansas and Connecticut as well.

‘Block Grant’ Has Become A Big Buzzword For Tennessee Politicians Discussing Medicaid. Here’s What It Entails.

KHN Morning Briefing

A block grant at its most simplistic is when the state gets a set lump sum from the government. This gives the state more freedom on how to spend the money, but experts have long been wary about the concept. The Nashville Tennessean takes an in-depth look at what it could mean for the state. Medicaid news comes out of Louisiana, Kansas and Wyoming, as well.

Maryland’s Pilot Program To Offer Dental Coverage To Some Medicaid Recipients Brings Smiles To Desperate Patients

KHN Morning Briefing

The program is aiming to catch dangerous dental problems before they can result in costly emergency room visits for the Medicaid recipients. Experts were muted in their praise. “It’s a very primitive first step for people who don’t have dental care,” said Dr. Louis DePaola, the associate dean at the University of Maryland’s School of Dentistry. Medicaid news comes out of Minnesota as well.

Alaska Governor Vetoes Bill To Restore Sharp Medicaid Cuts

KHN Morning Briefing

Following the move by Gov. Mike Dunleavy and earlier action by the Alaska’s legislature, the state’s Medicaid program is expected to be cut by about 22%. Those state spending cuts mean Alaska will receive at least $127 million less in federal Medicaid matching funds. Medicaid news comes out of Oklahoma and Ohio, as well.

Missouri Lawmaker Attributes Massive Medicaid Enrollment Cuts To Software That More Accurately Assesses Income

KHN Morning Briefing

Missouri Speaker of the House Elijah Haahr said the software found that a significant number of people weren’t eligible based on income. However, critics remain skeptical. “Most of those kids probably should be eligible for Medicaid unless their parents’ income doubled or tripled,” said Washington University Health Economics Professor Tim McBride. Medicaid news comes out of Louisiana, as well.

Sen. Casey’s Frustration With CMS About Quality Of Care From Medicaid Contractors Bubbles Over After Tense Meeting With Centene

KHN Morning Briefing

Sen. Bob Casey (D-Pa.) wants CMS regulators to look into Medicaid managed care companies that he says are prioritizing profits over patients. After meeting with Centene, the nation’s largest Medicaid managed care company, Casey was appalled. “I thought they would try to persuade me that they were going to do better, but they didn’t seem interested in that at all,” he said. Meanwhile, advocates fear that if an Obama-era rule is dropped from Medicaid there won’t be enough providers to care for the low-income patients.

Utah Lawmakers Urged To Adopt Full Medicaid Expansion After Administration Rejects Federal Funding Request

KHN Morning Briefing

Utah voters in 2018 approved the full expansion with Proposition 3, but lawmakers, citing the potential for runaway costs, repealed the initiative and adopted their own, more restrictive plan. However, the state was rejected from getting the most generous federal funding available because of that decision. Other Medicaid news comes out of Virginia, North Carolina and New Hampshire, as well.