Highlighting Medicaid News In Three States

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Summaries of recent news involving Medicaid in Connecticut, Louisiana and Rhode Island appear below.

* Connecticut: Approximately 60,000 households with family members enrolled in HUSKY must switch from Anthem Blue Care, one of the program's managed care providers, to a new managed care network by Feb. 1, according to letters sent by the state Department of Social Services, the Hartford Courant reports. According to the Courant, the switch is "staunchly opposed by advocates who say the new networks" -- AmeriChoice and Aetna Better Health -- "don't have enough doctors." The switch is required following the program's decision to end its relationship with Anthem. According to DSS officials, Anthem's participation in the program has prevented physicians from joining the other HUSKY plans. In March 2008, HUSKY withdrew from bidding for the program but has continued to provide coverage. As of Dec. 1, 2008, 138,126 of the state's 343,785 HUSKY beneficiaries were covered by Anthem, but DSS spokesperson Matthew Barrett said the number likely has since declined (Levin Becker, Hartford Courant, 12/30/08).

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* Louisiana: Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) last week proposed reducing state spending by $341 million, including some cuts to health care, the Baton Rouge Advocate reports. Jindal's proposal includes reducing health care spending by $118 million in part by reducing the number of prescriptions Medicaid beneficiaries can receive monthly from eight to five, unless additional prescriptions can be medically justified. The plan also calls for reductions to consultant contracts for services for individuals with developmental disabilities (Millhollon, Baton Rouge Advocate, 12/31/08).

* Rhode Island: The state Senate's first task on Jan. 6 will be to vet a waiver between Gov. Don Carcieri (R) and the Bush administration that would set a $12 billion, five-year spending cap on the state's Medicaid program in exchange for greater Medicaid spending flexibility, the AP/Boston Globe reports. Incoming Senate President Teresa Paiva-Weed (D) last week in an interview said that the state might lack the medical resources necessary to implement the changes. She said, "It does not appear the administration has taken any of the necessary steps to prepare for implementation of the waiver," adding, "That really is probably one of our primary concerns." The General Assembly must act on the waiver within 30 days of Carcieri sending the measure, which was on Dec. 19, 2008; otherwise, the measure becomes binding (Henry, AP/Boston Globe, 12/30/08).

Reprinted with permission from kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, and sign up for email delivery at kaisernetwork.org/email . The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. © 2007 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

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