New York Faces Multi-Billion-Dollar Medicaid Gap

“I think everybody would admit it’s a gimmick. You don’t have enough money in your checking account to pay your bills and so you just tell the people who are expecting money, ‘You have to hang on for a few days until my checkbook replenishes.’ ”

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When Parents Are On Medicaid, Kids Get Better Healthcare, Too

Kids in low-income families are 29 percent more likely to have regular doctors’ visits when their parents have Medicaid coverage, according to a new study designed by health economist Eric T. Roberts of the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. Even though the Children’s Health Insurance program provides coverage to kids in low-income families, giving parents health insurance facilitates access to the health care system. “Physicians practicing in large, multi-group practices can see parents and children within the same practice. There are broad, spill-over effects of providing coverage to parents that accrue to children,” said Roberts. When kids have health care they’re more likely to grow into successful adults.

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PA Senator Defends ACA Replacement In Town Hall

HARRISBURG (WSKG) — US Senator Pat Toomey’s live TV town hall got off to a raucous start Wednesday, with advocacy groups from across the state turning out to a Harrisburg TV studio to criticize the Republican for his support of the Senate GOP’s Affordable Care Act replacement bill.  Inside the studio, Toomey spent much of the hour-long event defending the bill, which he helped author. One of the biggest changes enacted under the Better Care Reconciliation Act would be states shouldering a greater burden of Medicaid costs–particularly for people who have been getting coverage under President Obama’s Affordable Care Act expansion. A number of governors from both parties–including Pennsylvania’s Tom Wolf, a Democrat–have come out against the plan for that reason: they say states can’t shoulder the cost. Toomey’s response? Neither can the federal government.

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PA’s Still-Unbalanced Budget May Reduce Medicaid Spending

HARRISBURG (WSKG) – State lawmakers haven’t yet finished the state budget, which was due Friday. They have until midnight next Monday to pass one, otherwise the unbalanced spending plan lawmakers sent to Governor Tom Wolf’s desk last week becomes law–with or without his signature.  Though little is still known about how the final budget will be paid for, the spending plan makes it clear that lawmakers aim to look for some savings in health care. The single biggest spending reduction in the plan sitting on Wolf’s desk is a more than $350 million decrease in money allocated to Medicaid managed care. That’s a nearly 10 percent reduction to the massive fund, which gets cash from both the state and federal government. Medicaid managed care involves the state contracting with private care providers to serve patients more cheaply.

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Vouchers Help With Trips To Get Prescriptions, Groceries

For people who are on Medicaid, the government pays for their ride to the doctor, but not to pick up their prescription. So, Mobility Management of South Central New York (MMSCNY) is providing vouchers for a free ride. It’s the transportation arm of the Rural Health Network. These vouchers are good for trips to places that directly impact a person’s health, like a grocery store or social services agency. “These vouchers are meant to fill that void,” said Bill Wagner, executive director of MMSCNY.