KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Administration Seeks To Stop Medicaid Providers, Recipients From Suing States

The New York Times: Administration Opposes Challenges To Medicaid Cuts
Medicaid recipients and health care providers cannot sue state officials to challenge cuts in Medicaid payments, even if such cuts compromise access to health care for poor people, the Obama administration has told the Supreme Court. ... Federal law says Medicaid rates must be "sufficient to enlist enough providers" so that Medicaid recipients have access to care to the same extent as the general population in an area. In a friend-of-the court brief filed Thursday in the Supreme Court, the Justice Department said that no federal law allowed private individuals to sue states to enforce this standard (Pear, 5/28).

Meanwhile, states are moving to managed care to help meet their tight budgets.

Stateline: Managed Care Explained: Why A Medicaid Innovation Is Spreading
One of the most controversial state health initiatives this year is a plan in Florida to cut Medicaid costs by dramatically expanding the use of managed care. ... At least a dozen other states are considering expanding managed care programs this year. That growth comes atop expansions in 20 states last year and 13 states the year before. Although most health care experts say managed care can improve care while lowering Medicaid costs, consumer advocates say states should proceed with caution (Vestal, 5/31).

Earlier, related KHN story: Insurers Clash With Health Providers As States Expand Medicaid Managed Care (Galewitz, 4/26)  

The New York Times: Under An Arizona Plan, Smokers And The Obese Would Pay Medicaid Fee
Arizona, like many other states, says it is no longer able to finance its Medicaid program adequately. As part of a plan to cut costs, the state has proposed imposing a $50 fee on childless adults on Medicaid who are either obese or who smoke. In Arizona, almost half of all Medicaid recipients smoke; while the number of obese people is unclear, about one in four Arizonans is overweight, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The state's plan must ultimately be approved by the federal government. Monica Coury, spokeswoman for Arizona's Medicaid program, discusses (Williams, 5/31).

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