KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Medi-Cal Rates Back In The News; N.C. Medicaid Faces $140 Million Shortfall

Meanwhile, in Kansas, a working group met for the first time to figure out how the state's Medicaid program could interact with a health insurance exchange.

California Healthline: CMA Urges Federal Officials To Review Medi-Cal Payment Rates 
The California Medical Association has requested that CMS assess whether California pays health care providers enough to guarantee adequate access to care for Medi-Cal beneficiaries, California Watch reports. Medi-Cal is California's Medicaid program (10/26). 

California Watch: Doctors Ask Feds To Review Medi-Cal Rates 
The California Medical Association is asking federal Medicaid authorities to review whether the state pays enough to guarantee adequate access to care for patients who rely on the Medi-Cal program. The CMA is relying on a federal law that says Medi-Cal should pay health providers enough to ensure care is available to program beneficiaries at the level of their privately insured peers. The move relies on an obscure law that allows Medicaid authorities to impose conditions on or possibly cut off funding to states that run a noncompliant program (Jewett, 10/26).

The Associated Press/Houston Chronicle: NC Medicaid Reductions Getting Focus Of Lawmakers
North Carolina's Medicaid program is facing a nearly $140 million shortfall because it can't reach the savings required in the state government budget and other agency liabilities that weren't paid for in the spending plan, according to state health regulators. … The shortfall means state leaders will have to find a way to close the gap between revenues and expenditures for Medicaid, the government-run health care plan for poor children, older adults and the disabled. Medicaid is an entitlement program, so the state must pay for services paid through the program for nearly 1.5 million recipients. The General Assembly already has given state Health and Human Services Secretary Lanier Cansler authority to reduce or eliminate optional Medicaid services if the cost savings mandated in the budget aren't being reached (Robertson, 10/27).

Kansas Health Institute: Medicaid Study Group Generates Questions, Few Answers 
A work group charged with figuring out how the state's Medicaid programs might interact with a health insurance exchange met for the first time Wednesday. The two-hour meeting generated more questions than answers. "People want more information, they want to know how this is going to work," said the group's leader, Rep. Brenda Landwehr, R-Wichita. "But we don't have all the pieces of the puzzle and the one we do have keep changing shape on us" (Ranney, 10/26). 

New Hampshire Public Radio: LRGH Steers Clear of Medicaid Patients
More than 3,000 people on Medicaid in the Lakes Region will have to switch from their regular doctors by next month.  They are being reassigned to other area clinics. Primary care doctors that are part of LRGH Healthcare will no longer treat Medicaid patients.  LRGH President, Tom Clairmont, says the joint federal-state program for the poor and disabled, covers less than half the cost of providing care.  Clairmont says that formula undermines the hospital’s ability to provide the most essential care (Greenberg, 10/26).

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