Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Director Seema Verma wants to give states a “unprecedented level of flexibility.” Outlets offer other Medicaid news out of New Mexico, New Hampshire and Wisconsin.

Seema Verma’s Plan To Upend The Medicaid Expansion, Without Congress

With a broad overhaul of Obamacare stalled in Washington, one of President Trump’s top health care leaders is drawing the outlines of sweeping changes to Medicaid that could pare enrollments and cut costs without congressional approval. Seema Verma, director of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, is promising to give states an “unprecedented level of flexibility” to design their Medicaid programs as they see fit. In an appearance in Cleveland this week, she pledged to reduce scrutiny of state requests for waivers from federal rules meant to preserve access and quality standards. (Ross, 10/26)

HHS Secretary or Not, Seema Verma Could Redefine Medicaid

When the Congressional Budget Office released estimates in July that Republicans’ proposed health-care changes would result in 22 million people losing health coverage, Verma publicly spoke out against the CBO’s numbers, saying they overstated the impact that repeal would have. She maintains that she is going to uphold Medicaid as it stands. But she is nonetheless implementing changes that could radically remake the way America cares for its poorest citizens for decades to come. … At the heart of Verma’s goals for Medicaid is the desire to loosen bureaucratic restrictions while emphasizing that recipients “take personal responsibility” for their own health care. (Mattie Quinn, 10/24)

Albuquerque (N.M.) Journal:
Medicaid Cost Jump Threatens State Budget

New Mexico faces about $82 million in extra Medicaid costs next year – far outpacing the amount of new revenue expected to be available. The extra costs are possible partly because Congress has not reauthorized funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, or CHIP. It would cost the state about $31 million to cover those children, although there’s still a chance the federal government will renew CHIP funding. (McKay, 10/25)

Concord Monitor:
Analysis: Managed Care Model Could Cut N.H.’s Costs In Half For Some Health Plans

One system change could save New Hampshire 50 percent or more for some Medicaid recipients’ health insurance. But making that change, critics point out, would give the state a projected drop in tax revenue and shift more health care costs onto providers. A new analysis of New Hampshire’s individual health care market projects that if the state moved Medicaid expansion recipients off the market and into a managed care program run by the state, the costs to insure those patients could be cut in half. (DeWitt, 10/26)

Wisconsin State Journal:
Two Thirds Of Medicaid-Covered Children Not Getting Required Tests For Lead Poisoning In Wisconsin

Less than a third of Wisconsin children on Medicaid were tested for lead poisoning at ages 1 and 2 last year, despite a federal requirement that all such children get the testing, a new state report says. Children on Medicaid are three times as likely to have lead poisoning than other children, so many children who could face developmental problems from lead exposure are not being identified, a Madison pediatrician said. (Wahlberg, 10/26)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.