Medicaid news from Lousiana, Washington, Texas and New York.
New Orleans Times-Picayune: Gov. Bobby Jindal's Medicaid Plan Questioned By Good-Government Group
Calling it a "dubious privatization venture," a Baton Rouge good-government group last week questioned Gov. Bobby Jindal's plan to turn over large chunks of the state Medicaid program to private insurers and praised the Louisiana House of Representatives for trying to slow the process. Citing problems with similar privatization plans in other states, the nonpartisan Public Affairs Research Council raised doubts about whether the Coordinated Care Networks, which are slated to launch in January, would yield the cost savings and quality improvements the administration is promising (6/4).
The Olympian: Nursing Home 'Safety Net' Fee's Effect Not Yet Known
State lawmakers' nearly $5 billion in budget cuts left behind a weakened medical safety net for the poor and elderly this year. But they did manage to put what many see as a financial patch on the nursing home industry. Gov. Chris Gregoire signed a bill into law last week that enacts a provider, or "safety net," fee on nursing homes after July 1. It is designed to make financial life easier for most nursing homes (Shannon, 6/5).
The Texas Tribune: Lawmakers Renew Push to Take Over Medicaid, Medicare
[I]n a House Appropriations hearing, state Rep. Lois Kolkhorst, R-Brenham, laid out her bill, HB 13, to ask Washington for a block grant to fund Medicaid as Texas sees fit. Her measure passed the House during the regular session, but never made it up for a vote in the Senate. ... On Thursday, the Senate Finance Committee debated SB 5, proposed by state Sen. Joan Huffman, R-Southside Place, which would ask Congress to allow Texas to collaborate with other states in a Health Care Compact, giving states the purse strings and the authority to operate both Medicare and Medicaid (Ramshaw, 6/3).
The New York Times: Cuomo Health Adviser Absolved In Ethics Inquiry
A health care consultant with close ties to Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo did not violate state lobbying regulations when he contacted state officials on behalf of a Queens hospital seeking more Medicaid financing, a confidential investigation by the state ethics commission has determined (Confessore, 6/5).