Medicaid Cuts Hit Dental Services; Minn. Seeks Waiver To Save $151 Million

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Topics: Delivery of Care, Health Costs, Medicaid, States

Aug 29, 2012

The New York Times looks at the problems that come when the health care program for low-income people doesn’t meet their dental needs. At the same time, Minnesota news outlets report on an effort by the governor to get federal authorities to approve changes in the Medicaid program there.

The New York Times: Sharp Cuts In Dental Coverage For Adults On Medicaid
Banned from tightening Medicaid eligibility in recent years, many states have instead slashed optional benefits for millions of poor adults in the program. Teeth have suffered disproportionately (Goodnough, 8/28).

Minneapolis Star Tribune: Minn. Seeks OK To Change Medicaid Health Plan, Save $151 Million
Gov. Mark Dayton is asking the federal government to let Minnesota push ahead with a local version of Medicaid reform that could save the state $151 million over the next five years. “The combination of rising health care costs and changing demographics will make our current Medicaid system unsustainable unless major changes are put in place by 2020,” Dayton wrote in a letter to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services last week. The governor asked for a federal waiver that will allow Minnesota to put into place its own bipartisan plan that Dayton said would make it easier to connect people to services, steering them out of institutions and into home-based care (Brooks, 8/28).

Minnesota Public Radio: Minnesota Seeks Medicaid Waiver
Minnesota is asking the federal government to waive a number of federal Medicaid rules, which Gov. Mark Dayton says would save the state about $151 million over the next five years. The federal government pays about half of the costs associated with Medical Assistance, Minnesota’s Medicaid program, said state Department of Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson. “To get those hundreds of millions of federal dollars we have to agree to a lot of federal rules,” Jesson said. “We could do a better job here in Minnesota, get better outcomes for people, save both federal and state tax dollars, if we did things differently” (Collins, 8/28).

This is part of Kaiser Health News‘ Daily Report – a summary of health policy coverage from more than 300 news organizations. The full summary of the day’s news can be found here and you can sign up for e-mail subscriptions to the Daily Report here. In addition, our staff of reporters and correspondents file original stories each day, which you can find on our home page.


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