In States, Questions Swirl About Medicaid Contracts, Costs, Waiting Lists

Medicaid news from Florida, Washington state, Kansas and Idaho.

Health News Florida: Waiting List: Dilemma For Medicaid
Florida's unfolding plan to keep elderly and disabled Medicaid patients out of nursing homes through the use of HMOs faces a huge obstacle: The state already has a long waiting list for the kinds of home- and community-based services those patients need. And there is no state money on the table to address it (Gentry, 1/18).

Dow Jones Newswire/Fox Business: Washington State Pick 5 Insurers For Medicaid Contracts
The state of Washington has named five health insurers, including Amerigroup Corp. (AGP), Centene Corp. (CNC), UnitedHealth Group Inc. (UNH) and Molina Healthcare Inc. (MOH), as preliminary winners in a Medicaid bidding process that could be worth around $2.5 billion in industry revenue. ... The contracts in question are expected to cover about 840,000 people and go into effect July 1. The Washington process is the latest in a string of contests around the U.S. that are creating new revenue sources for Medicaid-focused insurers (Kamp, 1/18).

California Healthline: It May Be Time 'To Take the Pain' on Medicaid
A $2 billion budget gap has prompted [Washington state] to consider drastic solutions, including unusually stark health cuts. Legislators and lobbyists have been in and out of court over a plan to institute Medicaid coverage limits for emergency department care. ... Regardless of what providers and lawmakers ultimately settle on, Washington state's Medicaid program will get a makeover — and stakeholders are running out of time to deal with it (Diamond, 1/18). 

Idaho Press-Tribune: Panel: Idaho Medicaid Cuts Have Not Saved Money
Idaho's $35 million in Medicaid cuts have not saved the state money, have eliminated thousands of jobs, put pressure on law enforcement operations and hurt individual residents, according to a panel that met Wednesday to discuss impacts of the cuts. The panel in Boise included the state's former chief economic analyst Mike Ferguson (Butts, 1/19).

Kansas Health Institute News: Mental Health Centers Voice Conditional Support For Medicaid Makeover
The Kansas Medicaid program currently provides services to about 350,000 people at an annual cost of about $2.8 billion in combined federal and state spending. Brownback officials have said the program is financially unsustainable and, if left unchecked, will squeeze out state spending on education, public safety and other programs (Shields, 1/18). 

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