WBRZ News

DHH Secretary worried health care bill opens flood gates

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Posted: Mar 22, 2010 9:45 PM by Kristy Davis
Updated: Mar 22, 2010 11:13 PM
Source: WBRZ

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Topics: health care, health care bill, Department of Health and Hospitals, DHH, Secretary Alan Levine, Medicaid, expansion of health care

In the wake of Congress passing health care reform, the state health secretary expects the first change will be thousands of people joining the Medicaid ranks.

Nearly 400,000 more people are expected to take advantage of Medicaid now that the healthcare bill has passed the House. But that level of access doesn't have DHH secretary Alan Levine excited.

The health care bill requires states to provide and pay for access. If the state can't do that due to a lack of specialist who accept Medicaid, Levine worries patients here will sue the state.

Levine says the pressure is on to reform the state's current Medicaid system. Those reforms would attempt to create a system where more specialists take Medicaid patients.

All 400,000 of those people were already eligible for Medicaid, but the majority of them didn't know it. They'll have two years before the federal mandate for coverage kicks in.

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