KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Budget Woes Lead States To Seek Ways To Ease Medicaid’s Requirements

While The Hill reports that CMS administrator Donald Berwick says his agency is trying to help states find solutions, National Journal notes that mounting budgetary pressure has put the program in "dire fiscal straits."

The Hill: No Easy Answer For States' Medicaid Woes, Berwick Says
There is "no simple answer" for Medicaid funding problems plaguing the states as they grapple with massive budget deficits, the Medicare chief said Thursday afternoon. With a majority of the states asking the federal government to ease Medicaid requirements, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Don Berwick said his agency is engaged with the states to find funding solutions "while protecting beneficiaries" (Millman, 1/27).

National Journal: Cuts That Kill
The confluence of a weak economy, years of budget cuts, and mounting fiscal pressure has caught up with the nation's governors, forcing them to make life-or-death decisions over their state budgets. Literally. In October, Arizona ended Medicaid coverage for heart, lung, liver, bone-marrow, and pancreas transplants. Since then, two Arizonans have died after being denied potentially life-saving organs, the result of steep budget cuts to a Medicaid program that is in dire fiscal straits (DoBias, 1/27).

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