States must make do without stimulus dollars for Medicaid; judge freezes Ariz. cuts

Reuters/Fox News: States Nearing The End Of Medicaid Boost
As healthcare costs for the poor soar across the United States, perhaps no state will feel the loss of federal stimulus money more than Florida. America's fourth-most-populous state, Florida is second only to Texas in the percentage of residents without health insurance and its struggles are emblematic of problems afflicting many states (6/30).

Arizona Republic: Arizona Medicaid Cuts Are On Hold For Now
Low-income Arizonans got an indefinite reprieve from cuts to the state's Medicaid program after federal health officials Thursday delayed approval of the plan and the state suspended the enrollment freeze, which was scheduled to take effect today. The eleventh-hour action came just minutes before a Maricopa County Superior Court judge denied a motion for a temporary restraining order to stop cuts to the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System. The freeze, which is expected to eliminate 17,000 adults from the rolls in the first month and 135,000 people by next July, is part of sweeping state budget cuts (Reinhart, 7/1). 

Lund Report:  Oregon Legislature Approves Big Medicaid Changes
The Oregon Senate passed legislation ... that imposes monumental changes to the Oregon Health Plan intended to coordinate care and reduce costs.  House Bill 3650 passed the Senate 22-to-7 with all seven 'no' votes from Republicans. ... The Oregon House passed the bill earlier this week by a vote of 59-to-1.  The bill aims to consolidate the managed care plans that currently administer the Oregon Health Plan into regional "coordinated care organizations" that can better manage chronic conditions and preventive care (Rosenfeld, 6/30).

New Orleans Times-Picayune:  Louisiana Medicaid Makeover Attracts 12 Corporate Applicants
Twelve companies have applied to participate in the state's new "coordinated care networks" initiative, which will steer nearly 900,000 Medicaid recipients into private managed-care plans starting early next year. ... The care networks are the centerpiece of Gov. Bobby Jindal's health care strategy, with supporters saying the private plans will produce better health outcomes by reducing unnecessary tests and hospitalizations through improved coordination between primary-care doctors, specialists, hospitals and other care providers (Moller, 6/30).

CNN Money: Wal-Mart Takes On Medicaid
Wal-Mart is partnering with the Arkansas Children's Hospital to provide legal support for Medicaid patients and their families, free of charge. This type of arrangement means Wal-Mart's lawyers will be taking on the government and other entities in order to help sick children get access to programs, services and equipment that they have been denied (Kavilanz, 7/1).

HealthyCal:  Childless Adults To Get New Health Coverage
In an early and major step toward implementing the federal health reform bill, about half a million low-income Californians will soon be eligible for benefits that are expected to address their health problems before they reach an emergency room.  Single childless adults with incomes up to about $14,500, who up until now have depended largely on emergency rooms for their care, will be moved into the health care system with a basic package of benefits paid for with an increase in federal funding (Weintraub, 6/30).

Health News Florida:  Nursing Home Staffing Level Drops Today
Nursing homes residents may have less face-time with their caregivers after a law takes effect today that revises minimum staffing levels.  The law is part of an effort to help nursing homes deal with the $187.5 million in Medicaid cuts outlined in the state's budget.  Nursing home residents will be entitled to 3.6 hours of direct care per day, down from 3.9 (Davis, 6/30).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



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