KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Ariz., Wis. Trying To Slow Medicaid Costs; Ala. Goes Electronic

Medicaid news pops up in Arizona, Alabama, Wisconsin and Florida.

Arizona Republic: Arizona Judges Hear Arguments Over Medicaid Cap
Arizona voters never intended to write a blank check when they agreed to expand eligibility for government-funded health care, a lawyer for the state's Medicaid program said Wednesday. Attorney Joe Kanefield told a three-judge panel of the Arizona Court of Appeals that the voter-approved measure, which allowed everyone under the federal poverty level to qualify for health coverage, doesn't force the Legislature to pay for it (Reinhart, 10/20).

The Associated Press/MSNBC: Ala. Medicaid Creating Statewide Records System
In his family practice in Valley, Dr. Bob Mullins said he couldn't begin to talk about the time it took to obtain records on patients who had just moved into town. ... Mullins switched over to an electronic health record system ... Now, as the commissioner of Alabama's Medicaid Agency, Mullins is overseeing a program that could extend electronic medical records through the state (Lyman, 10/19).

The Associated Press/Pioneer Press: Public Speaks Out Against Wisconsin Medicaid Cuts 
A plan to cut about half a billion dollars from the state's Medicaid costs put forward by Gov. Scott Walker's administration drew an overwhelmingly negative response at the first of two public hearings today. ... [Advocates] spoke out against the proposal that would lead to increased premiums and the shifting of hundreds of thousands of people into less costly state or private plans. ...The changes are needed given the rising cost, loss of federal money and exploding enrollment growth in various Medicaid programs, which currently serve roughly 1.1 million Wisconsin residents, or 1-in-5 of the state's population (Bauer, 10/19).

The Miami Herald: Jackson Health System Sells Medicaid Plan To Fernandez-Owned Company
Jackson Health System's board agreed Wednesday to negotiate the sale of its failing Medicaid insurance business to Simply Healthcare, a new insurer whose main investor is a close friend of Jackson's chief executive, Carlos Migoya. ... The Medicaid portion consists of many high-risk patients that caused plan losses of $14.3 million so far this calendar year (Dorschner, 10/19).

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