Arizona and Wisconsin start looking at impact of Medicaid roster cuts

March 16, 2022

Montana Economy

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As covid upended the US economy two years ago, Medicaid enrollment increased, but the federal government helped states absorb the additional costs. Now as states look to ending the covid emergency, they are planning how to reassess who should be covered by the state’s federal program for low-income residents.

AP: Arizona to resume opting out of people from Medicaid program

Arizona will soon resume opting out of in-state residents who are no longer eligible for coverage by Medicaid and a related program for children and that many currently enrolled people will have to go through a process to see if they remain eligible, have officials said Tuesday. Arizona’s health care cost containment system has generally not unenrolled beneficiaries since the pandemic began in March 2020 unless they left the state, voluntarily unenrolled, were children’s program or die, according to a statement from the agency. (3/15)

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: ‘Huge number’ in Wisconsin to lose Medicaid as COVID emergency ends

Hundreds of thousands of Wisconsin residents are expected to lose their eligibility for Medicaid coverage when the federal government lifts its public health emergency declaration, the state’s top health official said Tuesday. At an event hosted by Wisconsin Health News, state health department secretary-designate Karen Timberlake said that, conservatively, the department predicts “a few hundred thousand” people will lose their coverage. Medicaid when the state restarts the renewal process for Wisconsin’s 1.5 million residents. currently enrolled in the program. “It’s a huge number,” she said. (Shastri, 3/15)

In related Medicaid news —

AP: Speaker of the House not budging on expanding Medicaid for new moms

Mississippi House Speaker Philip Gunn said he opposes efforts to revive a proposal that would allow mothers to retain Medicaid coverage for a year after giving birth. “My position on postpartum hasn’t changed,” Gunn, a Republican, told reporters on Capitol Hill on Tuesday. Mississippi allows two months of Medicaid coverage for women after childbirth. Advocates for low-income women say extending government insurance coverage for up to a year could improve health outcomes in a state with a high maternal mortality rate. (Petus, 3/15)

AP: Ex-Ohio Governor Kasich calls for compassion in Medicaid submission to North Carolina

Former Ohio Gov. John Kasich and other speakers on Tuesday shared the experiences of states expanding Medicaid to more working adults, as North Carolina lawmakers carefully assess whether they should now accept coverage. Kasich, a former Republican presidential candidate, and program presenters in Montana, Indiana and Michigan spoke to a General Assembly study committee about successes and challenges after the states accepted the expansion through the Federal Health Care Act of 2010. (Robertson, 3/16)

Miami Herald: 5 health care bills killed in 2022 by Florida legislature

Florida lawmakers made major and minor health policy changes this legislative session: They passed a 15-week abortion ban. They set aside $5 million a year so children in Florida can afford hearing aids. They revised the process for obtaining state contracts in 2025 for Florida’s Medicaid managed care system. Based on current listings, these deals will total at least $100 billion. Millions of Floridians covered by Medicaid will be affected by the Legislature’s policy changes. This year alone, lawmakers have earmarked nearly $49 billion in public funding for health care spending. (Wilson, 3/15)

And in news from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services —

AP: Psychiatric hospital has more time to correct shortcomings

Montana State Psychiatric Hospital has more time to correct deficiencies that led to patient deaths, reports the Montana State News Bureau. The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services initially gave Montana State Hospital in Warm Springs until March 13 to meet certain conditions to remain eligible for federal reimbursement. (3/15)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage by major news outlets. Sign up for an email subscription.