KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medicaid: Lawmakers Ask Kansas Gov. To Wait On ‘Ambitious’ Changes

Examing cuts and changes to Medicaid programs in Maine, Kansas and other states.

The Wall Street Journal: Maine's Governor Has A Hard Shell
Last month, he signed a budget that fills a $120 million shortfall in the current fiscal year partly with contentious cuts to Maine's Medicaid program, which is among the most generous in the country. And at his direction, lawmakers in coming weeks will begin debating $80 million more in Medicaid cuts for the next fiscal year (Levitz, 3/5).

Kansas Health Institute: Brownback Medicaid Makeover An "Ambitious" Plan
Experts on the nation's Medicaid program say that Gov. Sam Brownback's plan to remake the state's system for delivering health care to the poor, elderly and disabled is among the most far-reaching in the United States. And it faces an uncertain likelihood of gaining full approval from the federal government, least of all in time to meet the governor's Jan. 1 target for implementing the changes (Shields, 3/5).

Kansas Health Institute: Legislators To Propose KanCare Delay
Several legislators are expected to introduce a resolution Tuesday urging Gov. Sam Brownback to delay by six months the start of his Medicaid reform plan. KanCare, the governor's proposal, is scheduled to start Jan. 1, 2013, contingent on federal approval. The resolution would postpone the start date to July 1, 2013 (Ranney, 3/5).

Modern Healthcare: N.H. Ordered To Provide Notice On Medicaid Rates
The order is the result of lawsuit filed last year by 10 of the state's hospitals in U.S. District Court in Concord, N.H. The hospitals had alleged that New Hampshire violated the Medicaid Act by not providing sufficient reimbursement for providers to treat Medicaid beneficiaries. They also alleged that the commissioner of the New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services failed to notify providers of the rate reductions and failed to provide opportunities to comment (Lee, 3/5). 

The Associated Press: NY: Insurers To Cover Women's Contraception Choice
New York state on Monday warned health insurers they would lose state contracts if women on Medicaid are denied their choice of higher-cost, brand-name contraceptives unless cheaper, generic methods "fail first." The move comes after The Associated Press reported Monday that some New York Medicaid patients were told they had to switch to lower-cost contraceptives unless the cheaper measures failed, resulting in pregnancy, bleeding or nausea (Gormley, 3/5).

In the meantime, a key D.C. mayor campaign figure faces an investigation into a Medicaid billing settlement the district reached with a health plan --

The Washington Post: Raids Target Home And Office Of Gray Campaign Figure
Investigators also have ordered D.C. Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan to preserve records pertaining to Thompson-owned Chartered Health Plan. A spokesman for Nathan’s office acknowledged the request Monday. That would include documents regarding a controversial settlement the city reached with Chartered. Last September, the Gray administration agreed to pay $7.5 million in connection with a billing dispute over dental reimbursement rates (DeBonis and Stewart, 3/5).

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