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   SPRINGFIELD, IL (AP) - Doctors providing primary care in Illinois can get higher Medicaid reimbursement rates through the end of 2014.

   Illinois officials are reminding doctors to sign up online for the higher rates, which are expected to increase by an average of 93 percent. If doctors sign up by June 30 they can get reimbursed at the higher rate retroactively to the beginning of this year.

   Julie Hamos is director of the Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services. She says the temporary raise should help increase doctors' participation in Medicaid.

   That's important because thousands of uninsured Illinois residents will be newly eligible for Medicaid in 2014.

   The pay increase for primary care was authorized by the Affordable Care Act.

 

Published in Local News

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - After declining to expand Medicaid coverage this year, the Missouri House has passed a bill that would create a committee to study the issue next year.

The House passed the measure 133-27 Monday. It would create a joint committee of House and Senate members to look at ways to "transform" the state's Medicaid program. The committee would begin at the end of the current session until the 2015 session's start in January.

Gov. Jay Nixon called for lawmakers to expand coverage for 260,000 adults starting in 2014. The Republican-led Legislature rejected that appeal numerous times and abandoned plans for an alternative proposal earlier this month.

The bill now heads to the Senate.

 

Published in Local News

   JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Republican senators have made it clear that there will be no Medicaid expansion in Missouri this session.

   The Republican-led Senate voted down a Democratic attempt Monday night to insert $890 million of federal funds into Missouri's budget to expand Medicaid eligibility to an estimated 260,000 lower-income adults.

   The vote was just the latest in a series of similar defeats in the Missouri Legislature for the Medicaid expansion backed by Democratic Gov. Jay Nixon and called for under President Barack Obama's health care law.

   But this vote carried a bit more weight. That's because it ensured that neither the Senate nor the House version of the budget includes the Medicaid expansion. Under legislative rules, negotiators cannot insert money into the final budget that wasn't in either chamber's plan.

 
Published in Local News
Wednesday, 03 April 2013 13:51

Gov. Nixon open to GOP Medicaid proposals

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon says he's open to many of the Medicaid changes sought by Republican lawmakers as part of a plan to expand health coverage to low-income adults.

 

In an unusual move, the Democratic governor met privately for about 45 minutes Wednesday with House Republicans at the Capitol.

 

Republicans have repeatedly defeated Nixon's plan to expand adult Medicaid eligibility to 138 percent of the poverty level, which is about $32,500 for a family of four. A Republican-led House committee was to vote later Wednesday on an alternative that adds fewer adults to Medicaid while injecting more private-sector competition.

 

Nixon said he's open to a private insurance model for Medicaid and to new co-payment requirements for participants.

 

States that expand to 138 percent of poverty can receive full federal funding.

Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Some supporters of a Medicaid expansion championed by President Barack Obama are also embracing a Republican alternative put forth in the Missouri House.

Among the witnesses testifying for the Republican plan Monday in a House committee were officials representing medical clinics, hospitals and business groups. Some of those same people have stood by Democrats in recent weeks as they embraced a proposed Medicaid expansion for lower-income adults.

But Missouri's Republican-led committees have repeatedly defeated the Medicaid expansion backed by Obama and Democrats.

The alternative by Republican Rep. Jay Barnes would cover fewer additional adults than Obama's version while also removing some children from the Medicaid rolls. Medicaid recipients would be covered through competitively bid managed care policies and could get cash incentives for holding down their health expenses.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A Republican alternative outlined in Missouri to President Barack Obama's Medicaid expansion would offer cash incentives to patients who hold down their health care costs.

Legislation to be filed Tuesday by Rep. Jay Barnes would stop short of Obama's call to expand Medicaid coverage to adults earning up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, or $32,500 for a family of four. But it would add some adults to the Medicaid rolls while also removing some children whose parents earn up to three times the poverty level.

Private insurers would bid to offer managed care plans, and patients could get cash for avoiding costly medical care.

House Speaker Tim Jones says Barnes' plan is a "commonsense conservative" proposal. But he says it could be at least a two-year project.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - Missouri House Republicans have given a resounding `no' to Democratic plans to expand Medicaid.

Two separate House committees rejected the plan Monday. One shot down an attempt to add funding for a Medicaid expansion to the 2014 budget. Another panel defeated legislation that would have authorized the expansion of Medicaid coverage to an estimated 260,000 lower-income adults.

Both committees voted along party lines, with Republicans opposing the Medicaid expansion and Democrats supporting it. More than 30 people representing health care, business and social services groups testified in support of the proposed expansion.

The Medicaid expansion is called for by President Barack Obama's health care law and supported by Gov. Jay Nixon.

House Republicans are working on an alternative that may include a more modest expansion combined with cost-savings measures.
Published in Local News
CHICAGO (AP) - Illinois officials say savings from cuts to the state's Medicaid program have fallen short by $464 million, about 30 percent of the expected $1.6 billion in cuts to the health program for the poor. Illinois Department of Healthcare and Family Services Director Julie Hamos gave a status report on the cost-cutting measures to a legislative committee Thursday in Springfield. Nearly half the gap is because of a delay in implementing a program to check Medicaid recipients' eligibility. In addition, the federal government denied permission to carry out some planned cuts. Hamos says the Illinois Hospital Association won changes to rules that will mean $30 million in cost savings won't be achieved. Repairing a long-term deficit in the Medicaid program was a top legislative priority for Gov. Pat Quinn last year.
Published in Local News
JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - The top budget writer in the Missouri House has outlined a spending plan that omits Governor Jay Nixon's proposed Medicaid expansion.

The plan presented Thursday by Budget Committee Chairman Rick Stream would also provide a smaller increase for public colleges and universities than Nixon had proposed for the 2014 fiscal year.

The Democratic governor wants to accept about $900 million from the federal government to expand Medicaid health care eligibility to nearly 260,000 lower-income adults. But Stream said he left that out of the budget because it runs contrary to Republican philosophy against bigger government.

Nixon had proposed a $34 million funding increase for colleges and universities. Stream's proposed budget pares that back to $20 million. It also provides less money for early childhood programs than Nixon had sought.
Published in Local News
Governor Jay Nixon's plan to expand Medicaid in Missouri has encountered a new wrinkle of opposition from some lawmakers. Members of the Senate Appropriations Committee raised concerns Monday that the Medicaid expansion could hurt the state's credit rating.

Missouri currently enjoys a triple-A rating.

But Moody's Investors Service last week assigned a negative outlook to Missouri because of the proportion of the state budget that already comes from the federally and state-funded Medicaid program.

If Missouri expands Medicaid eligibility as called for in the federal Healthcare Reform Act, it would get billions of dollars more from the federal government in coming years.
Published in Local News
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