KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Governments Wrestle With Medicaid Expenses, Lawsuits

Officials reckon with health care costs in the context of budget dilemmas in Illinois, Kentucky, Connecticut, Alabama and Wisconsin.

The Associated Press: Budget Dilemma Looms For Illinois Democrats
Facing one of the nation's worst budget crises, the Democrats who run Illinois insist they're serious about overhauling the state's expensive health programs and employee pensions. ... [Gov. Pat] Quinn proposes cutting $2 billion from a Medicaid program that totals about $14 billion, throwing more than 35,000 people off the rolls entirely and eliminating services like dental care for others (Wills, 5/2).

Modern Healthcare: Ky. System Suing State, Medicaid Contractors
Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Lexington, Ky., is suing the state of Kentucky and two Medicaid contractors in a move that speaks to deeper-seated concerns about the state's adoption last year of a mandatory managed-care program. Kentucky implemented its managed-care program Nov. 1 ... In its suits, Appalachian alleged that the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family illegally set Medicaid reimbursement rates for inpatient and acute-care services that covered only 75% of its costs (Kutscher, 5/2). 

The Connecticut Mirror: New Budget Figures Make Agreement On Medicaid Changes Likely
Key Democratic lawmakers have bristled at the governor's proposal to scale back a Medicaid program that serves some of the poorest adults in Connecticut. But in light of new budget figures released this week showing that the state has a nearly $200 million budget deficit, some said they're willing to consider changes (Levin Becker, 5/2). 

The Associated Press/Modern Healthcare: Ala. Governor Promises Veto Of Budget If Medicaid Cut
Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley said that he will veto the state's General Fund budget if lawmakers do not find an additional $200 million for Medicaid. Bentley and State Health Officer Don Williamson said at a news conference Tuesday that there would be dire effects if the budget for non-education state services is adopted as it passed the House, with only $400 million for Medicaid. Williamson said at least $602 million is needed to fund the program (5/2).

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: State Sending Letters On Medicaid Changes 
The state is sending out letters to 111,000 low-income Wisconsinites warning them that they could see changes to their state health coverage, including premium increases. The letters are being sent after federal officials announced Friday their approval of plans by Gov. Scott Walker's administration to cut costs in those Medicaid programs. Officials estimate that the plans will lead to more than 17,000 people leaving or being turned away from the state's BadgerCare Plus health programs (Stein, 5/2).

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