States Continue To Wrestle With Federal Funding Issues, Budget Shortfalls

The Fiscal Times: "Nationally, the number of Medicaid beneficiaries has risen by 8 percent a year since 2008, and 44 states have reported that they will exceed their enrollment and spending growth projections this year, the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured reported. A dozen other states, including Arizona, Utah, Wisconsin and Maryland, have experienced double-digit annual enrollment increases." California and New York have experienced growth rates of 24 percent and 16 percent, respectively. "All of this is set against the backdrop of severe budget deficits in most states, most of which are required to balance their budgets. Cumulative state budget shortfalls for 2010 and 2011 are estimated at $350 billion, which has prompted unprecedented cuts averaging 12 percent since 2008" (Yarrow, 9/8).

The Hill's Healthwatch: "The Nebraska State Board of Education this month rebuffed a request from Gov. Dave Heineman (R) to support a direct repeal of the Democrats' new healthcare reform law. Instead, Board members passed a much tamer resolution that registers their opposition to 'unfunded mandates' without ever mentioning healthcare at all — a change that's being cheered by children's welfare advocates wary of efforts to pit children's health coverage against their education funding. The episode began late last month, when Heineman sent a letter to state education leaders — including the members of the State Board — warning that the Medicaid expansion in the new healthcare reform law represents a threat to education funding, and therefore to education jobs" (Lillis, 9/7). 

The Florida Times-Union: "When state authorities made a move to shutter a Jacksonville nursing home for repeated problems, it was an uncommon step. The action was so rare that Glenwood Nursing Center was only the second nursing home in Florida over the past decade to have its license revoked. In fact, if Glenwood does not win its court case fighting the state action, it would be the only nursing home in recent state history to be forcibly closed by regulators. The Agency for Health Care Administration filed petitions to revoke the licenses of 22 of the state's nursing homes in the past 10 years. But 20 of those cases were unsuccessful. In the other two, the nursing homes failed to respond by the designated deadline" (Conner, 9/6). 

Kansas Health Institute: "Officials at the University of Kansas Medical Center are gearing up for the launch of the new Heartland Telehealth Resource Center, which will pool expertise from KU and universities in Missouri and Oklahoma to encourage doctors and other medical providers to embrace or expand the use of telemedicine. The resource center will be financed over three years by a $980,000 federal grant announced last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The center, a virtual entity, will draw on experts from KU's existing Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth, the Missouri Telehealth Network at the University of Missouri School of Medicine and the Oklahoma Center for Telemedicine at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center" (9/7). 

Royal Oak (Mich.) Daily Tribune: "More dental professionals in Michigan are needed to treat people with disabilities said a local periodontist who volunteered to provide dental care for a man with a disability last Thursday in Novi. Dr. Steve Wolf is the co-founder and spokesman for the Adopt a Smile Dental Program of the Macomb-Oakland Regional Center, a nonprofit, human services agency that serves 5,500 people with disabilities. … Michigan cut the Medicaid dental care budget in July of 2009 affecting over 1.8 million people. Many people with disabilities remain unable to afford the dental care they need. Since the cuts, people are eligible to receive only emergency care for abscesses or extractions" (Wolffe, 9/7).

Minneapolis-St.Paul Star Tribune: "Gov. Tim Pawlenty on Tuesday asked the Obama administration for $230 million in additional federal money for Medicaid, even though it is part of a state-aid economic stimulus law that the Republican governor has criticized as a 'reckless spending spree.'" Pawlenty said these funds, which supports state health care programs, are "not part of the big health care legislation" that he calls "'Obamacare' and vowed last week to resist" (Wolfe, 9/7).

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