States Continue To Confront Medicaid Issues

CQ HealthBeat: "Hospitals and other providers are in line for Medicaid cuts later this year as state budget officers confront what many regard as 'their worst year yet,' Raymond Sheppach of the National Governors Association told reporters on Wednesday. Even though states are projecting a 4.4 percent increase in fiscal 2011 in general fund revenues, a rapidly growing Medicaid population, growing pension liability and the end of extra federal Medicaid funding — 'the cliff' as it is grimly referred to by state budgeters — will require tough budget decisions, said Sheppach, NGA's executive director. Budgeting for fiscal 2012, the 12-month period that starts July 1," could be especially difficult (Reichard, 12/1).

Chicago Tribune: "Indiana lawmakers likely will cut some Medicaid-provided services in the upcoming legislative session after learning Wednesday that the state's share of government health insurance program costs will balloon by $1.1 billion over the next two years unless checked. The federal government pays about two-thirds of Indiana's Medicaid costs, but human services chief Michael Gargano told the State Budget Committee that the state's share has been growing by more than 10 percent each year. He said that's because the recession has made more people eligible for Medicaid, which serves those who are needy and disabled. … He didn't identify specific services lawmakers could cut" (Kusmer, 12/1).

The Associated Press: "A lawyer for 4,800 legal immigrants in Connecticut urged the state's highest court Tuesday to strike down a state law aimed at taking away taxpayer-funded medical benefits from their impoverished clients. The case follows similar legal fights in other states where courts have ruled that it is unconstitutional under equal protection rights to deny Medicaid coverage to legal immigrants while providing the coverage to citizens with similar health and economic problems. The Connecticut Supreme Court didn't immediately rule on the matter Tuesday. A decision could take months. The legal issues stem from Congress' 1996 welfare overhaul, which barred legal immigrants from receiving Medicaid, with an exception for emergency care, until they had lived in the country five years. Connecticut and many other states responded by funding medical benefits to legal immigrants who had been in the country for less than five years. In recent years, however, some of those states have tried to cut such programs to save money amid growing budget shortfalls" (Collins, 12/1).

Florida Tribune/Florida Current: "Florida will have less federal money to spend on Medicaid than initially anticipated this summer under new guidelines that were posted by the federal government earlier this month. The reductions in the so-called FMAP — or the federal Medicaid assistance percentage — will mean the state will have to use more general revenue to fund the Medicaid program, make cuts, or try to collect more money from counties and taxing districts that already send money to Tallahassee to be used for Medicaid. According to the Office of Economic and Demographic Research, the reduction in the FMAP will mean a $1.7 million hit in the current fiscal year. But it is estimated that the figure will balloon up to $73.9 million in 2011-12; $182.5 million in 2012-13 and $263.1 million by 2013-14" (Sexton, 11/30).

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