Medicaid Patients Bear Burden of State Budget Cuts

Medicaid is a Federal and State joint funded plan for health care to classes of citizens who are financially or physically challenged; or meet certain other disadvantaged criteria as outlined by the state.  The state plan must be approved by the Federal Government and will receive co-funding from the Feds. 

The problems arise as all states are dealing with severe budget constraints.  One of their most significant expenditures, often times the single largest expense ranging from 20% to 30% of the budget, is Medicaid.  It becomes an obvious target for budget cuts. 

If would appear some states might be going the proverbial “bridge too far”.  These include:

  •  Texas seeks a waiver from the Federal guidelines but still wants the funding, thus allowing them to potentially change the eligibility guidelines and make them more rigorous to qualify for the coverage;

 

  • New Jersey plans to cut $300 Million from its Medicaid program by severely limiting eligibility;

 

  • Arizona estimates its savings at $500 Million by capping eligibility at 75% of the poverty level.  And, for 100 adults on the transplant list, the news is much worse.  The state has suspended coverage for certain transplants of the heart, liver, lung, pancreas and bone marrow.  These transplants typically are used to ward off death;

 

  • Utah is experimenting with a work or community service program to retain Medicaid eligibility;

 

One understands the states need to balance the budget, but it would seem there are better alternatives than some of these more draconian cuts.

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