News outlets examine state health issues, including potential Medicaid cuts in Michigan and the effect of swine flu on Louisiana's Medicaid budget. Crain's Detroit Business
reports: "Michigan's hospitals, doctors and nursing homes are fighting against potential 8 percent to 12 percent Medicaid budget cuts in Lansing this week that they believe could weaken their efforts to take care of the poor and disabled. State legislators are in a House-Senate conference committee today, negotiating ways to cut $2.8 billion out of the state's $40 billion-plus budget, which begins Oct. 1. Sources have told Crain's Detroit Business that conferees are discussing a possible 12 percent Medicaid budget cut because a reduction in tax revenue is forcing an estimated $34 million in additional cuts to the state Department of Community Health's budget" (Greene, 9/21). The Detroit Free Press
reports on the potential cuts to Medicaid as part of broader budget issues: "In the face of a $2.8-billion deficit, Senate Majority Leader Mike Bishop, R-Rochester, and Speaker of the House Andy Dillon, D-Redford Township, signed an agreement last week that would call for $1.2 billion in cuts. But during a Detroit Economic Club meeting Monday, Dillon said getting some of the cuts through the Democratic caucus will be a challenge. ... State Rep. Fred Miller, D-Mt. Clemens, "said the proposed cuts are 'literally a matter of life and death,' because they would reduce Medicaid payments to hospitals and nursing homes enough to put some on the brink of closure" (Gray, 9/22). The Times-Picayune/Associated Press
reports: "The costs of swine flu are helping push Louisiana's Medicaid program over budget, and the state health secretary said Monday that he expects a midyear deficit that will need to be closed. Health and Hospitals Secretary Alan Levine wouldn't put a dollar figure on the projected deficit, but he told the Senate Finance Committee he expects it will be sizable. ... Levine said swine flu cases are driving up emergency room visits, trips to the doctor's office and medication needs, and he said that's driving up billing costs in the Medicaid program that cares for the poor, elderly and disabled. Meanwhile, Levine said cost-cutting moves planned for the $6.5 billion program were taking longer to begin than he had hoped" (Deslatte, 9/21).