HHS Issues Home Health Grants To States

In other Medicaid news, the Obama administration has dispatched experts to go into the field to help budget-strapped states find ways to save money on the health insurance program for the poor.

Reuters: U.S. Government Sends Home Health Care Money To States
States stand to gain billions of dollars as provisions in the U.S. health care plan to move Medicaid patients out of institutions come on-line, with 13 states awarded $45 million in grants on Tuesday, the Health and Human Services agency said. "Our country recognized in the Americans with Disabilities Act that everyone who can live at home or community-based settings should be allowed to do so," Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a statement announcing the grants (Lambert, 2/22).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Grant For Aged Latest About-Face On Health Care Overhaul 
The announcement is the latest sign of the abrupt about-face Minnesota has executed on the landmark federal care overhaul since Gov. Mark Dayton took office. Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty barred state agencies from seeking such grants because they were authorized by the 2010 Affordable Care Act, which Pawlenty denounced as an "unwise and unsustainable federal takeover of health care" (Wolfe, 2/22).

Modern Healthcare: HHS Allots $4 Billion To Move Medicaid Recipients Out Of Institutions
HHS has announced more than $4 billion in available funding from two programs in the health reform law to help move Medicaid beneficiaries out of institutions and into their own homes or other community settings. On Tuesday, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said 13 states — Colorado, Florida, Idaho, Maine, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nevada, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Vermont and West Virginia — will receive a total of $45 million to start the "Money Follows the Person," or MFP, demonstration program, which was scheduled to expire this year but was extended for five years through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Zigmond, 2/22).

In other Medicaid news:

Kaiser Health News: Sebelius Squad's Mission: Medicaid Savings
The Obama administration is deploying squadrons of in-house experts to help budget-strapped states figure out how to save money on Medicaid, the health program for the poor that has been the source of rising tensions between state capitals and Washington (Werber Serafini, 2/22). 

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