- Associated Press - Friday, March 11, 2016

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Legislation aimed at curbing and containing costs within the state Medicaid program has passed the Alaska Senate.

Friday’s 19-0 vote sends the bill to the House.

Medicaid is a major state cost and one of the areas lawmakers have targeted for reform as the state grapples with a multibillion-dollar budget deficit. The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Pete Kelly, says the measure goes after the system, not the recipient.

SB 74 includes provisions to ferret out fraud and abuse. Among other things, it also calls for establishing a case management system to reduce unnecessary use of emergency and specialty care services and calls for reducing travel costs by requiring recipients receive care in their communities, if possible.

The state health department estimates the bill will save the agency $31.4 million next year.

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