KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

State Medicaid Programs Face Cuts, Backlog Of Applications

The Associated Press reports Minnesota Democratic lawmakers said Thursday that they hope to save health coverage for 35,000 low-income adults after state funding runs out in March. "Republican Gov. Tim Pawlenty's administration already plans to switch patients into another subsidized program, MinnesotaCare. But MinnesotaCare has limited coverage of hospital stays and requires patients to stay abreast of premiums and paperwork, prompting state officials to predict that as many as 13,000 will drop coverage within a year." The lawmakers hope the federal government, hospitals, HMOs and counties will help them keep a version of the "General Assistance Medical Care" program through June 2011 instead of moving them to MinnesotaCare, which Democrats say would add $1.2 billion to the state deficit (Lohn, 12/10).

Tulsa World: The Oklahoma Health Care Authority voted Thursday to cut $17 million from that state's Medicaid program, but left reimbursement rates intact for the time being. "The authority had already pared its services by $9.8 million in state funding this fiscal year, which began July 1. That translates into an even deeper cut because every state dollar is matched by three federal dollars. Gov. Brad Henry and the state Legislature ordered state agencies to reduce the remainder of the year's budget by 5 percent" (Archer, 12/11).

The (Missoula, Mont.) Missoulian: Montana faces a large backlog of applications for their children's health insurance program, Healthy Montana Kids. "Healthy Montana Kids, approved by voter initiative in 2008, expands two government health insurance programs - Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Plan - with the goal of covering an additional 29,000 children in low- and moderate-income families in Montana." More than 2,300 families have applied for the program for the first time since September and only about 740 children have been added. Officials blame the backlog on a computer program (Dennison, 12/10). This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.