Ky., Minn., Fla., Texas Facing Tough Medicaid, Budget Decisions

Bloomberg: Beshear Seeks Fix For Kentucky Medicaid Cuts Threatening To Devastate Care
Governor Steve Beshear of Kentucky has given lawmakers less than two weeks to approve his plan to come up with $165 million for Medicaid or he'll cut payments. ... The first-term Democrat, who took office in January 2008, faces a local variation on a problem vexing governors across the U.S.: when Kentucky lawmakers approved an $18 billion biennial budget last year, they overestimated federal Medicaid funding. That created a $165 million hole that balloons to $600 million this year with the loss of U.S. matching aid (Dopp, 3/22).

The Minneapolis Star Tribune: Medicaid Savings Unrealistic, Study Says
Faulty information is driving a plan by Minnesota House Republicans to save $300 million in Medicaid spending over the next two years by seeking to exempt the state from some federal rules in exchange for a lump-sum block grant, a Washington think tank says. The House proposal is based on a 2009 "global Medicaid waiver" for Rhode Island that some former officials say saved the state about $150 million in its first 18 months. But the "savings" actually came from extra federal Recovery Act money to states  (Wolfe and Stassen-Berger, 3/22). 

The Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minnesota's Fraying Safety Net
More than a million needy Minnesotans rely on the state's taxpayer-supported safety net, most of them low-income seniors, disabled persons and children who need health care and other services. But the crushing combination of a bad economy and the growing needs of an aging population are stretching the system like never before. There's no way to fix the state's $6.2 billion financial hole without affecting that safety net -- which accounts for a third of state spending (Schrade and Wolfe, 3/22). 

Dallas Morning News: Cuts To Texas Nursing Homes, In-Home Care Carry Economic Costs, Groups Warn
Leaders in the nursing home and in-home care industry warned Tuesday of dire consequences if the Legislature approves deep budget cuts. And company executives took a new tack to protesting Medicaid reductions (Garrett, 3/22). 

Health News Florida: Cancer Center, Hospitals Cut
When Florida lawmakers passed a $1-a-pack cigarette tax increase in 2009, they made another decision: Part of the money should go to biomedical research to combat cancer and tobacco-related illnesses. But two years later, that could go up in smoke. A new House budget proposal would eliminate $50 million for the H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and other research programs and use the money to help pay for the state's Medicaid program. The cut to the biomedical programs was the most hotly debated issue as the committee took up a proposed $29-billion health and human services budget for the 2011-12 fiscal year (Saunders, 3/22). 

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