Wash. State Suspends ER-Payment Plan; Penn. 'Slashes' Kids From Medicaid Rolls

A selection of Medicaid news from Pennsylvania, Washington state, Colorado and California.

The Wall Street Journal: State Suspends Plan To End ER-Visit Payments
Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire has suspended a plan for the state's Medicaid agency to stop paying for certain emergency-room visits. The planned cuts, which were designed to reduce health-care costs and were set to go into effect April 1, drew opposition from hospitals and doctors, who said they would be stuck with bills for care they often would be legally required to provide (Mathews, 4/2).

Seattle Times: Gregoire Suspends Plan To Limit Medicaid Emergency-Room Visits
Gregoire's budget director, Marty Brown, said Saturday that Gregoire on Friday stopped the Medicaid plan from going into effect, noting growing legislative support for a less-drastic alternative. The alternative plan, pushed by Rep. Eileen Cody, D-West Seattle, is a modified version of a proposal offered by emergency-room doctors and hospitals (Ostrom, 3/31).

Denver Post: Colorado Medicaid Expansion To Add 10,000, But Many More Out Of Luck
Colorado's latest Medicaid expansion is long overdue, health advocates say, but is burdened from the outset with a lottery system serving only 1 in 5 of those in need. The state starts taking applications this week for a new group of Medicaid patients — adults without dependent children — breaking a mold that long defined the insurance program in both scope and cost (Booth, 4/3).

Colorado Public Radio: State Launches Historic Medicaid Expansion
There are 650,000 people on Medicaid in Colorado, about 13% of the state population ... ten percent of the federal poverty level means an income of about $1,100 per year (Whitney, 4/2).

The Philadelphia Inquirer: Uncovering Kids: 89,000 Poor Pa. Kids Slashed From Medicaid
At least 89,000 children vanished from the state Medicaid rolls between August and January - roughly 25,000 of them in Philadelphia, according to the state Department of Public Welfare. Most of those kids - about 71,000 statewide - were removed as part of a massive effort to clear a backlog of recipients whose paperwork was not up to date … But many of the children were wrongfully kicked off, and 23,180 have been reinstated in the program so far (Hinkelman and Lucey, 4/3).

California Healthline: New Adult Program Launches With a Few Issues Still To Be Resolved
It was January 2011 when the governor first red-lined the Adult Day Health Care program for elimination as a Medi-Cal benefit. Since then, it has been rescued, cut in half, eliminated altogether, reinstated and replaced. Yesterday the replacement program, Community Based Adult Services, went into effect (Gorn, 4/3).

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