Feds Send Healthcare Funds to Worried States

Thursday, 24 Feb 2011 05:54 PM

 

Share:
A    A   |
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
  Copy Shortlink
WASHINGTON — The federal government Thursday announced funding to help U.S. states evaluate health insurance rates and run preventive medicine programs, just as many state officials worry they cannot afford to carry out reforms included in the massive healthcare law.

Starting in August, states can apply for three-year grants worth $3 million to create or enhance their reviews of the premiums health insurance companies charge, said Steve Larsen, director of the Health and Human Services Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.

A year later, they can apply for a second round of two-year grants worth $2 million, Larsen told a conference call with reporters.

The federal government also is offering about $50 million of grants to help states with the extra workload that comes with increased rate evaluations and to reward states that have authority to block unjustified insurance rate hikes.

The healthcare reform law passed past year aimed to make the health insurance market more transparent. But surges in insurance rates caused the federal government to call for more scrutiny on how rates are set and for stronger oversight by states, which regulate insurance.

Many states could not afford to beef up their oversight or make information about insurance accessible, Larsen said.

"We are confident that states will have effective review processes. This absolutely helps them to get there," he said of the new grants.

They were announced on the same day the federal government said it will put $100 million into state efforts to prevent chronic health problems, with the hope of driving down the costs of covering those problems.

States can use the money to encourage those enrolled in the Medicaid program for the poor to quit smoking, eat better or exercise more, the agency said.

States are charged with carrying out numerous provisions in the plan President Barack Obama championed to help Americans afford healthcare. They also must establish insurance exchanges and expand the Medicaid program to include more people.

After the financial crisis and 2007-2009 economic recession caused historic revenue collapses in almost all states, many officials are worried they cannot cover costs of the reforms.

"States are concerned about the new costs that accompany their enhanced responsibilities, particularly as their revenues are only now beginning to to recover from very troubled fiscal times," the Kaiser Family Foundation said in a report released Thursday.

"While all estimates show some new costs for states associated with the large expansion of Medicaid, the [healthcare law] also creates new savings and revenues for all states, along with opportunities for states to achieve further, often longer-term savings," it added.

The grant announcements come just days after the federal government said it would send states money to provide home healthcare to Medicaid enrollees.

Still, not all states believe they should have to carry out the reforms. More than half are challenging the law in federal court, saying it threatens individuals' and states' rights.

The Republican majority in the House also is questioning costs put on states as members seek to repeal all or part of the healthcare law. The House Energy and Commerce Committee will convene a hearing next week on the law's impact on Medicaid and the states.

States can realize substantial savings and gains in many areas under the healthcare reforms, Kaiser said.

For example, some individuals who have relied on Medicaid instead will buy their insurance from private companies through the exchanges and states will not have to pay for their healthcare.

At the same time, because many states tax insurance premiums, their revenues will rise as more people purchase insurance, it said.

© 2014 Thomson/Reuters. All rights reserved.

Share:
   Email Us   |
   Print   |
   Forward Article  |
  Copy Shortlink
Around the Web
Join the Newsmax Community
>> Register to share your comments with the community.
>> Login if you are already a member.
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
Email:
Retype Email:
Country
Zip Code:
 
Hot Topics
Follow Newsmax
Like us
on Facebook
Follow us
on Twitter
Add us
on Google Plus
Around the Web
You May Also Like

Trump: Nevada Rancher in Position to 'Cut a Good Deal' With Feds

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 22:59 PM

Billionaire real estate developer Donald Trump thinks Nevada cattle rancher Cliven Bundy is in a strong position to cut  . . .

One Dead, Three Injured in Blast at Tennessee Ammunition Plant

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 21:58 PM

One person has died and three others were injured on Wednesday after an explosion at an ammunition plant in central Tenn . . .

Government Causes Generic Drug Shortage, Critics Say

Wednesday, 16 Apr 2014 16:49 PM

A proposed Food and Drug Administration rule on product labeling will exacerbate shortages of generic drugs already resu . . .

Newsmax, Moneynews, and Independent. American. are registered trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc. Newsmax TV, NewsmaxWorld, NewsmaxHealth, are trademarks of Newsmax Media, Inc.

 
NEWSMAX.COM
America's News Page
©  Newsmax Media, Inc.
All Rights Reserved