Medicaid cuts have patient advocates, states considering their options

Stateline reports that new federal rules that limit state options for cutting Medicaid have moved health care providers and patient advocates nearer to testing the legality of the cuts in court. In the meantime, Medicaid cuts and restructuring remain in play in dwindling state budgets as Oregon, Ohio and Kansas look for ways to save money in the state-federal health care program for the poor.

Stateline: Medicaid: A Year Of Excruciating Decisions
Two years ago, Medicaid eclipsed K-12 education as the most expensive item in state budgets. Since then, it has only kept growing. Medicaid now comprises 24 percent of state budgets, when federal funds are counted. ... Making the job for fiscal 2013 even more difficult for states are new federal restrictions and an increasing number of court rulings that limit states' options for trimming their programs. Recent cuts have run so deep that they are pushing the limits of what health care providers and patient advocates will tolerate without seeking court review (Vestal, 1/11).

The Associated Press/Corvallis Gazette Times: Estimate Shows Near-Term Oregon Medicaid Shortfall
Gov. John Kitzhaber's proposed health care overhaul would save less than half of the nearly $240 million that Oregon lawmakers assumed when they wrote the state budget, projections released Tuesday showed. The shortfall -; $125 million under the most optimistic projection -; could require reductions in Oregon Health Plan benefits or even steeper cuts in payments to doctors and hospitals. But state officials said they're hopeful the federal government will provide an influx of money as a sort of down payment that would be recouped with future savings (1/10).

The Associated Press/Dayton Daily News: Ohio Plan Aims To Better Link Medicare, Medicaid 
State officials want to change the way health care is delivered to the 190,000 Ohioans enrolled in both Medicaid and Medicare, so that the beneficiaries only have to work with a single entity to receive the services. A draft proposal of the plan was released Tuesday by Gov. John Kasich's Office of Health Transformation. State officials want to gather feedback from those enrolled in the programs, as well as from health providers and advocate groups such as AARP, before they submit a final plan to federal officials for their approval (Sanner, 1/10).

Kansas Health Institute: Deadline For Medicaid Managed Care Proposals Extended Again
Kansas officials once again have extended the deadline for accepting proposals from companies interested in managing the state's Medicaid program. The original deadline was Jan. 13. That was later pushed to Jan. 31 and now has been pushed to Feb. 22 (Shields, 1/10).

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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