KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medicaid: Budget Gaps, Informants, And A Plan To Expand Coverage By Going Private

States are dealing with their unique Medicaid problems in different ways: New Mexico plans deep cuts, Florida seeks new Medicaid fraud informants, and a California gubernatorial candidate wants to privatize the program in the interest of covering the uninsured.

The Tampa Tribune: Florida lawmakers directed $1 million from drug company Pfizer to a program to pay off informants who tip officials to Medicaid fraud cases. Informants can received payments from the program, first created this spring, if their tips result in fines, charges or forfeitures. The new money came from Florida's share of a $2.3 billion Pfizer paid to settle a federal case over its marketing practices (Peterson, 9/17).

The New Mexico Independent: The state could face a $300 million budget gap in its Medicaid program, lawmakers said Wednesday. To help close the gap the legislature may shut down many or all optional Medicaid services like medications, eye and dental care, hospice and physical therapy (Jennings, 9/17).

San Francisco Chronicle: "Republican gubernatorial candidate Tom Campbell on Thursday said he is ready with a plan to cover uninsured Californians in the event Congress fails to pass a health care bill." The plan would use existing federal Medi-Cal money and state funds to create a new, $42 billion fund. The fund would then be reorganized to cover both uninsured people and people who now receive Medicaid through private plans (Buchanan, 9/17).

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