California Healthline Rounds Up News on Potential Medicaid Cuts
California Healthline rounds up recent coverage of Medicaid news. Summaries of the articles appear below.
- "Medicaid Programs Enticing to States With Budget Problems," AP/Akron Beacon Journal: The AP/Journal on Sunday examined states' efforts to reduce Medicaid spending by cutting or eliminating comprehensive dental coverage. Ohio Gov. Bob Taft (R) is considering reducing Medicaid dental coverage to address a $5 billion program deficit. According to the AP/Journal, a number of states have reduced dental coverage, including Michigan, Minnesota and Utah. In 2004, only seven states offered comprehensive dental benefits to adults under Medicaid, down from 14 in 2000, according to the American Dental Association. Advocates for Medicaid beneficiaries say reducing dental benefits will cost states more in the long run because beneficiaries will be forced to seek more costly emergency treatment. In addition, dentists and others also say that poor dental health can lead to additional health problems, such as diabetes, strokes and premature births (Welsh-Huggins, AP/Akron Beacon Journal, 1/30).
- "Medicaid Battle Brews for Leavitt," Salt Lake Tribune: According to the Tribune, the Bush administration's proposal to reduce Medicaid funding in its 2006 budget request next week might pit new HHS Secretary and former Utah Gov. Mike Leavitt against governors seeking to preserve federal funding levels for the program. The Bush administration is expected to propose cutting or capping the federal contribution level to Medicaid and reducing program spending by loosening restrictions on how states use money. According to the Tribune, Leavitt -- who some consumer advocates say will "be the trigger man for Republican-led" efforts to reduce federal Medicaid spending -- previously opposed caps on federal Medicaid spending when he was governor. However, in his confirmation hearings last week, he promised only to oppose limits on spending for mandatory beneficiaries, leaving open the possibility of capping optional benefits (Smith, Salt Lake Tribune, 1/30).