Medicaid

The things that Amy Vance does for James Prasad are pretty simple: She calls doctors with him, organizes his meds, and helps him keep tabs on his blood pressure, blood sugar and weight.

These simple things — and the relationship between a health coach like Vance and a chronically ill Medicaid patient like Prasad — are a big part of a $2 billion health care experiment in Oregon.

Dale Miller spends his days on the streets of downtown Denver selling a newspaper called The Homeless Voice. He's been having some health problems, but he can't afford to see a doctor on the $10 to $15 a day he makes selling papers.

A local charity clinic called the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless recently helped him get a CT scan at no cost to him. Miller fully understands, though, that someone has to pay for his care.

The last argument on the Affordable Care Act before the Supreme Court could have consequences far beyond health care.

The key issue is whether the health law's expansion of the Medicaid program for the poor unfairly compels the participation of states. Many considered this to be the weakest part of the states' challenge to the health law, and during Wednesday afternoon's arguments, that seemed to be the case.

The AP says there was strong disagreement between liberal and conservative Supreme Court justices on the question of whether the expansion of Medicaid in the health care law passed in 2010 is constitutional. At issue is whether the federal government can demand that states expand their Medicaid program.

The court's liberal wing, reports the AP, made it clear they were OK with expansion of the program for low-income Americans.

The AP reports:

After Tuesday's judicial fireworks, the Supreme Court wraps up arguments on the new health care law Wednesday by focusing on two questions. The first involves what would happen if the "individual mandate" — the core of the law that requires most people to have health insurance — is struck down. Would the rest of the law fall, too, or could some provisions stay?

The federal health law's expansion of Medicaid will cover some 16 million more Americans in the government program for the poor, if that part of the law survives the legal challenge it faces in the Supreme Court beginning next week.

Florida is leading 25 other states in that challenge, but that hasn't stopped two of Miami's most prominent hospitals from preparing for the Medicaid expansion.

When the Supreme Court hears arguments over President Obama's health care law next week, one item on the table will be a program that has been in place for nearly 50 years.

Medicaid, a joint federal-state program that provides health care for the poor, was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson. Under the Affordable Care Act, it will be greatly expanded and provide coverage for millions of uninsured, including low-income adults without children.

Connecticut, like every state trying to reduce health care spending, is looking closely at how it cares for people with chronic conditions.

Gov. Dannel Malloy has promised to move more than 5,000 poor and disabled patients out of nursing homes in five years.

For The Tavenners, Health Care Is All In The Family

Mar 7, 2012

Hospital administrators have to deal with Medicare and Medicaid almost every day.

Not too many have to deal with Mom at the same time.

But Matt Tavenner does.

Marilyn Tavenner is the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Matt, assistant administrator at Jackson Purchase Medical Center in Mayfield, Ky., is her son.

The Supreme Court has officially declined to decide one of its bigger cases of the term: whether or not doctors, hospitals and other health care providers can sue a state to challenge cuts in the Medicaid health program for the poor.

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